This is At the Buzzer’s countdown of the best 25 comedies of all-time. Our panel of 10 cast their votes, and we’re revealing the results one by one until we get to No. 1 on Tuesday, May 10.
And now, our number 11:
11) Tropic Thunder (6 votes, 196 points)
I know who I am. I’m the dude playin’ the dude disguised as another dude!
Chris: It’s a different world now, you know? Robert Downey Jr. has been Iron Man for eight years and like five movies at this point. But back in 2008, he hadn’t really ever tasted major success in a blockbuster. He was a well-regarded actor with plenty of critical acclaim and some notable skeletons in his closet.
That’s why 2008 was so important. Downey Jr.’s first turn as Tony Stark was that year, and so was his ridiculous performance as Kirk Lazarus in Tropic Thunder.
We’ve had some films within films on this list, but Tropic Thunder is almost like a movie within a movie within a movie. That additional layer means that most of the principal actors get to be as ridiculous as they want — and they take full advantage. As much as I enjoy Jack Black and Ben Stiller (and both of them star in movies in our top 10), I actually enjoy this movie primarily because of Tom Cruise and Matthew McConaughey. The studios were wise to protect Cruise’s cameo here; his appearance (and his dancing) had added value as a surprise when the movie first hit theaters.
Tropic Thunder is a fun, satirical look at just how silly it can be to be an actor. You almost have to see it just to witness Downey Jr. in action.
Cary: Les. Motherf******. Grossman. Need I say more? I do. Because I cannot get enough of Robert Downey Jr. in this movie. Tropic Thunder makes me oh so happy that Robert Downey Jr. did not die of a drug overdose and survived to be Kirk Lazarus. Forget Iron Man. Forget Sherlock Holmes. Kirk Lazarus is the role Downey Jr. was born to play.
Okay, all gushing aside, Tropic Thunder is one of Ben Stiller’s best outings. It’s a movie that’s meta (actors playing actors) and heartfelt and, oddly enough, very relatable. Not in the sense that everyone can relate to being dropped unwittingly into the jungles of Southeast Asia thinking they are still on a movie set. But relatable in being part of a group of people who have to come together despite their differences and secrets and survive. I mean, damn, that’s just humanity.
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