I actually saw this movie about two weeks ago, but I’ve been struggling with what I should say about it in a public forum. Because here’s the problem with this movie: it is soooooo very wrong. SO VERY WRONG. In sooooo many ways. SO MANY WAYS.
And yet, oh my holy heckfire, was I ever dyin’ all the way through it, laughin’ so hard. I actually started to get kind of hoarse by the end of the movie because I had been letting loose with so many throaty guffaws the entire way through. Now that’s laughing, people! Laughed so hard I done nearly broke my vocal cords!
In case you haven’t heard, this movie is about a group of actors hired to make a Vietnam war flick. Out in the jungle somewhere (Laos? Vietnam? I can’t remember if/where they said they were), the actors are doing an absolutely abysmal job of it. Only five days into production, they’re already “a month behind schedule” (heh), and everybody is getting frustrated, from the key grip to the studio head, a balding guy with major anger management issues played (in what has to be one of the most brilliant PR moves of all time) by Mr. Tom Cruise.
Yes, you read that right. And damned if he wasn’t just awesome in this too.
The inspiration for the movie-within-the-movie is a memoir written by a Vietnam vet named Four Leaf (Nolte) who has accompanied the film team on location. Annoyed with the pussyfooting around, Four Leaf convinces the director that if he wants his actors to get the job done right, he ought to fly them into the middle of nowhere in the jungle and leave them there for a few days, so they can see first-hand what surviving in that place is like. The director agrees. And things go rapidly downhill from there.
So very, very downhill.
The cast consists of Jack Black as a bleached-blond junkie primarily known for a series of comedies about flatulence, Ben Stiller as a rapidly-washing-up action movie hero, Robert Downey Jr. as a white actor playing an African American character (totally something I think ONLY RDJ could’ve pulled off successfully, god bless ‘im), Brandon T. Jackson as an actual African American playing an African American (his banter with RDJ is ridiculously funny), and Jay Baruchel as the rookie who also happens to be the only one of the group who showed up for the “boot camp” training before filming started. In other words, the only one in the group who can read a map.
What happens after the gang is dropped into the trees is just weird and silly and ridiculous and hilarious. But I still hesitate to express just how much I liked this movie just because it’s also sooooo irreverent in regards to soooooo many things that it almost makes me feel like I must be a horrible person for laughing so hard at it. I am comforted if I think of it solely as a spoof of war movies. But I’m pretty sure I’m still going to hell for recommending this movie. Meh, life — it is such.
Recommended! And make sure to watch the “previews” at the beginning of the movie — the sad thing is I would TOTALLY rent Scorcher VI.