Ethan’s Score : 8.5/10
Ah, the satire. A notion long abused and misunderstood by hacks who simply figure that the defintion of it is having people dressed as characters from popular movies getting hit in the balls. But Ben Stiller’s hilarious send-up of Hollywood reminds that it isn’t dead. It cleverly skewers action franchises, oscar bait, low brow comedies, hip-hop culture, method acting and good ole fashioned egotism.
Stiller who pulls triple duty as actor-director-writer balances an amazing cast of comedic talent and actual visual flair. Some recent comedies have been criticized for being funny but being visually drab. Luckily Stiller has veteran DP John Toll (of Braveheart and The Thin Red Line) to give the film the real look of a war film. This helps remind us of the ridiculousness that making event films is like and the cliches that pervade all dramatic and action pictures.
Much has been made of Robert Downey Jr.’s performance. And it deserves all this controversy. Because he’s fricking hilarious. He pretty much dominates every time he’s on screen. A truly fantastic jab at method acting. And much has also been mentioned of an extended cameo by a certain sunglasses-wearing Xenu worshipper. With this he reminds us why we all loved him in the first place. The dude can be really, really funny. This performance will no doubt give his career some goodwill that it desperately needs.
Everyone (well, except the easily offended) will dig the crap out of this film. Average Joe’s can laugh at the dirty humor. But film geeks will get the numerous references and spoofs of war films such as Apocalypse Now, Platoon and Saving Private Ryan. Really, just go check out the comedy event of the year.