Hollywood’s top stars are doing a movie based on a book about a man’s account of a secret mission in Vietnam during the war. Only problem is that these stars can’t work together and the movie is quickly heading towards disaster. At the direction and prodding of the book’s writer, the director of the film agrees to extreme measures. In order to get his A-list actors to make a successful film, he takes them out of their element, literally, by dropping them in the Vietnamese jungle thus forcing them to act out the scenes under realistic conditions in front of hidden cameras. Even this plan goes wrong as the director is killed by a war era explosive. True to their Hollywood lifestyle idiocy, all but one of them convince themselves that this is all part of the production and they are to carry on with the script. As they carry on, they come to realize that they are in real danger and must work together to save themselves and each other.
Looking at this movie again makes it look better than I ever gave it credit for. Production value on it is surprising good. Usually comedies don’t employ a lot of special effects but with the war/conflict setting of the film, these effects looked good. Except when they weren’t supposed to(notably when Ben Stiller throws the kid from the bridge, you’ll see it if you watch the movie). More impressive is the cast. Ben Stiller is supposed to be the star of this film but the supporting cast are the true gems. Even the actors that have supporting or small roles are very recognizable if not out right big.
I have to take back a lot of things I thought about this movie. The first time I watched it I really thought it was another case of Hollywood being self-indulgent and trying to bolster its own ego. It still may well be that but after watching it again I think they were also very willingly making fun of themselves. Jack Black was the absolute worst part of the movie to me but now I think he may very well have been the second funniest character in the movie. Both times I watched this movie though, Robert Downey, Jr. amazes me. Who if any one else could pull of a the role of a black man being played by a white man? An Australian white man at that. I also used to think that this movie was making fun of Vietnam and everything that happened there. Again, I take it back. Vietnam is just where the background Ben Stiller and his cohorts decided to place this comedy about themselves.
Even with my change of mind, I still don’t think I need to own this movie but I do think it should be watched. Netflix doesn’t have it for streaming but Amazon does. If you decide you really have to have a physical copy of the movie, that’s ok because Amazon will hook you up with that as well.