Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
Reviewed By

L. Sue
I watched this movie, way late, years after realizing the greatness that is RDJ. One must remember, there was a time, way back in 2008, when having just proved he was Iron Man there was still some doubts about his sobriety, a time before Avengers when RDJ proved that anything he touches, will turn to gold. Lest we forget, he is helming the Iron Man, Sherlock Holmes, and arguably the Avengers franchise now. But back in 2008? RDJ was more like Jeff Portnoy, and more apt to take all the drugs on set. But Ben Stiller proved this man can bring it, and skewers the Hollywood machinery as much as he offends gays, black people, Asian people, and generally the human race.

I too didn't realize that Tom Cruise was Les Grossman. A short fused man who was berating his first time director, a beleaguered man who was being played by his prima donnas, a studio head not afraid to pull the plug on this epic fail. Tugg's agent, played with brilliance by Matthew McConaughey,  which again points to the time. Matthew getting that low billing wouldn't happen today. McConaguhey plays Peck, an agent who is too busy playing his Wii to really step up for this client, but when he hears that Tugg has no TIVO? No Les Grossman was going to stop him! While there, they get the fateful call from the Flaming Dragons (how tough a name can you have when you are lead by a 13 year old, Last Emperor style) Like the narcissist Hollywood types they are, Les and Peck think this is some start up agency trying to take over their production. It didn't occur to them initially that this is a drug cartel, that really has Speedman held hostage.

Speedman, in his infinite wisdom, experiences Stockholm syndrome, and begins to like his captors. He gets to play to a packed crowd 5 days a week, with a standing ovation. What more could an actor want that that kind of reception? As Lazarus points out, sometimes reality and fantasy get blurred. Once, after filming the Neil Armstrong story , he found himself in a Burbank alley trying
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to re enter the earth's atmosphere in an old refrigerator. These things happen, the key part is to find the next role, and move forward. As Kirk tells Tugg, "Me?! I KNOW WHO I AM! I'm a dude playin' the dude disguised as another dude! You a dude that don't know what dude he is! " Tugg replies, "Or are you the dude who has no idea what dude he is and claims to know what dude he is by playing other dudes? " What is real, what is fictional?

I think the first twenty minutes of the movie are funny, and obviously funny enough to have kept me watching.  However I would counter that the funniest scene in the movie was when Tugg kills a panda (PETA should be all up in arms over that) the very animal he loves the most, and just goes full on Rambo. This is pretty much the turning point when it isn't about them filming a movie anymore, it becomes about surviving, using the skills they have. They aren't trained soldiers, they are trained actors. They will fake it till they make it. Using naturally the tips that Lazarus has passed along- never go full retard. The actor must be a smart guy, playing a dumb guy, who thinks he's smart.  Don't drop character 'till the DVD commentary is done. And don't read the script- let the script read you. If that isn't a new methodology to acting, I don't know what methods or acting is. Parting last words- "Tell the world what happened here"  Lazarus- "what happened here" What happened was a spectacularly funny movie that skewers most of us, and if you just lean into it, you'll laugh as well. Don't be a hater, just embrace the funny. Ben Stiller and company- they've got this. The kid doesn't die alright, but spoiler alert- the director really does bite the dust.
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