Tropic Thunder

Rated 4.0

Four pampered movie stars (Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr., Brandon T. Jackson) are dumped in the Southeast Asian jungle to lend realism to the Vietnam War movie they’re making, but the experiment goes awry when their director (Steve Coogan) steps on a land mine and our boys are on their own to face a ruthless gang of heroin traffickers. Yes, believe it or not, it’s a comedy—directed by Stiller and written by him, Justin Theroux and Etan Cohen—and for all its undisciplined raunch and promiscuous profanity, it’s an often-hilarious send-up of Hollywood pretensions, from the fake-trailer opening to the Oscar-ceremony ending. The big-name cast includes Nick Nolte, Matthew McConaughey, several star cameos and an unrecognizable Tom Cruise as a producer even more ruthless than the drug gang.