Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
Watch On
  1. It's raunchy, outspoken -- and also a smart and agile dissection of art, fame, and the chutzpah of big-budget productions.
  2. The movie is laugh-until-your-stomach-hurts hilarious.
  3. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Tropic Thunder is the funniest movie of the summer--so funny, in fact, that you start laughing before the film itself has begun.
  4. 90
    An imperfect work of genius, a satire of Hollywood excess and vanity that dares to tread territory laden with minefields.
  5. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    If you go see Tropic Thunder this weekend, don't be late. The four fake ads that open the movie are perhaps the apex of its considerable comic invention.
  6. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    From Downey Jr.'s purposely racist embodiment of African-American anachronisms to Black's scatological humor, everything in Tropic Thunder qualifies as satire, not spoof. It's an important distinction. Pauline Kael once noted that "unlike satire, spoofing has no serious objectives; it doesn't attack anything that anyone could take seriously; it has no cleansing power."
  7. If you wait through the credits, you get one last joke in the fine print: The actors shot the whole movie in Hawaii, on the fabulously lush island of Kauai. So while they were shooting a story about indulged prima donnas, they were working themselves in one of the most tourist-friendly spots on Earth. You've gotta smile at that.
  8. 88
    When it's all over, you'll probably have the fondest memories of Robert Downey Jr.'s work. It's been a good year for him, this one coming after "Iron Man." He's back, big time.
  9. 88
    A knockout of a comedy that keeps you laughing constantly. It's also killer smart, lacing combustible action with explosive gags.
  10. 83
    Maybe Stiller just seems stilted because he's the only one here who isn't playing to the rafters.
  11. Stiller manages his movie nicely so that all actors get their share of the comic spotlight. Seldom does an ensemble comedy not contain a single weak character or performance as does this one.
  12. 80
    The history of filmmakers skewering Hollywood's darker excesses is a long and rich one, from Billy Wilder through Robert Altman. With Tropic Thunder, a rude, crude, over-the-top satire about rude, crude, over-the-top action movies, Ben Stiller makes an ambitious and surprisingly effective bid to join those vaunted ranks.
  13. Instead of entering the jungle to find the heart of darkness, Stiller (the director, co-star, and co-writer of Tropic Thunder) goes in to take aim at the Achilles heel of Hollywood: its utter pomposity and self-importance.
  14. In the end Tropic Thunder is an expensive goof about an expensive goof, and the results are very impressive and fancy-looking.
  15. 75
    Tropic Thunder understands movies, understands the system in which they are created and, most of all, knows what it takes to make an audience roar with laughter.
  16. Raunchy, raucous and riotously funny.
  17. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Downey is absurdly funny.
  18. 75
    At its best, Tropic Thunder wrings divine madness from wretched excess.
  19. 75
    Despite its contradictions, the film stayed with me after I left the theater. It's frivolous. But it's also powerfully surreal.
  20. 75
    Basically a mega-budget war movie that makes fun of mega-budget war movies.
  21. 75
    Fairly lightweight, going after targets we can all agree deserve the needle. But there are five, six, seven gags you've never seen before -- real surprises- -- and the film deploys them smartly to keep you laughing and unsteady for the duration.
  22. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    Cruise is downright scary. It's the creepiest -- and most entertaining -- performance since his unforgettable appearance in that Scientology video.
  23. Biting as it tries to be, Tropic Thunder is mostly toothless. Its targets – Hollywood vanity, Hollywood tantrums – are easy hits.
  24. All over the map, but it's worth enduring the botched gags, formula plotting, and even the racism to marvel at the genius of Robert Downey Jr.
  25. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Those opening trailers are hilarious and devastatingly acute, but the rest of Stiller's film could be more a deconstruction of comedy than a display of it. The brain gets the joke; the ribs are untickled.
  26. There is genuine humor and palpable satiric intent underneath the waves of unnerving bad taste and political incorrectness.
  27. Although this ­satire of Hollywood inanity isn't the comic ­classic it could have been, Downey's gonzo performance is a must-see.
  28. 70
    To top everything off, Tom Cruise may just have resurrected his career with the role of Les Grossman.
  29. Some of the writing is very smart, its strain of show-business satire is dead-on and often hilarious, and some of the performances have an insanity and intensity reminiscent of "Dr. Strangelove."
  30. 63
    The frustratingly uneven comedy Tropic Thunder has moments of full-on, bust-a-gut hilarity, along with long stretches where you can hear the crickets chirping in the theater.
  31. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Apart from startling, out-there comic turns by Robert Downey Jr. and Tom Cruise, however, the antics here are pretty thin, redundant and one-note.
  32. 60
    Never lives up to the hilarity of the opening, partly because the large-scale production smothers the gags but mostly because those gags are so easy to smother.
  33. 60
    Like this summer's other slapstick cause célèbre, "Pineapple Express," it's a comedy with as high or higher a body count as the movies it purports to be parodying, and the problem isn't the violence per se but rather the fact that neither movie ever finds a satisfactory balance between tongue-in-cheek and guts-in-hand.
  34. Reviewed by: Dan Jolin
    There are moments of comedy grandeur, but this isn't as consistently funny as you'd hope. Nevertheless, Downey Jr.'s Kirk Lazarus is instantly up there with the comedy greats.
  35. Reviewed by: Robert Wilonsky
    That's the thing about satire: It doesn't play past its expiration date. And everything about Tropic Thunder already feels antiquated.
  36. A flashy, nasty, on-and-off funny and assaultive sendup of the film industry.
  37. Tropic Thunder is an assault in the guise of a comedy – watching it is like getting mugged by a clown.
  38. Reviewed by: Joanne Kaufman
    Like a dinner whose hors d'oeuvres are far more satisfying and well-composed than the slightly warmed-over main course. Among them are the inspired mock movie trailers and the fake ad that precede "Thunder's" opening credits.
  39. 50
    The over-all effect is bizarre, daring you to be amused by something both brilliant and bristling with offense; if you sidle out at the end, feeling half guilty at what you just conspired in, then Stiller has trapped you precisely where he wants you.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 464 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 41 out of 174
  1. DavidW.
    Mar 4, 2009
    Best Film of the year. How did this not win best picture. Comedies deserve more credit. This movie was incredibly intelligent. It is sad that Best Film of the year. How did this not win best picture. Comedies deserve more credit. This movie was incredibly intelligent. It is sad that some are not intelligent enough to realize this. Full Review »
  2. Sep 25, 2011
    If you exaggerate the meaning, "Tropic Thunder" is a excellent movie with **** good humor. If you look at me eye to eye for my honest opinion,If you exaggerate the meaning, "Tropic Thunder" is a excellent movie with **** good humor. If you look at me eye to eye for my honest opinion, its just a unpredictable movie that has its laughs. Full Review »
  3. Jul 19, 2011
    Hilarious! One of the funniest films ever for sure. Cool concept and with an all-star cast of Ben stiller, Jack Black, and more. Will be inHilarious! One of the funniest films ever for sure. Cool concept and with an all-star cast of Ben stiller, Jack Black, and more. Will be in my top ten and classified as a classic in my mind for a long time. Full Review »