Tropic Thunder Has Great Buzz at Comic-Con

Posted on July 25, 2008

Ben Stiller's sendup of Hollywood filmmaking, Tropic Thunder screened at Comic-Con and the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. The biggest buzz coming out of the film is Tom Cruise's not so secret cameo as a foul-mouthed studio head that would sell his own mother if it meant a profit.
And the July 23 screening of Ben Stiller's "Tropic Thunder" -- a spoof of filmmaking with a delightful parody of actors and myriad references to obscure movies -- was perfect grist for the crowd. Tom Cruise is cast in a supporting role as a Hollywood studio chief, screaming a vocabulary that would embarrass a hardened rapper.

The Cruise-Stiller notion of a contemporary Hollywood boss is intriguing: Cruise's character, a bald, pudgy man named Grossman, is not the slick corporate type who heads studios today but rather a screaming, smarmy Semite more reminiscent of Columbia's fabled Harry Cohn. Cruise's Grossman character is perfectly willing to "sell" the life of his star to terrorists in return for insurance money.

Harvey Weinstein would fire the Cruise character on the grounds of being politically incorrect. But that is part of the subtext of "Tropic Thunder," with Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black and the others in scenes that are even bawdier than a Judd Apatow effusion. And, yes, "Tropic Thunder" elicited thunderous laughs from the crowd.
We can't wait to see it.

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