‘Tropic Thunder’ Trailer: Ben Stiller Movie Hardly Hampered by Presence of Ben Stiller


Tagline: "The movie they think they're making isn't a movie anymore."

Translation: The movies Ben Stiller's been making have been terrible, but it's not like that anymore.

The verdict: Laughing at the trailer for a Ben Stiller movie at this moment in history feels a little like lining up to kick the football as Lucy Van Pelt promises she will not yank it away this time. Nevertheless, the new red-band trailer for Tropic Thunder seems … really funny. Maybe it's Jack Black playing Eddie Murphy playing Eddie Murphy's enormous family. Maybe it's Nick Nolte's wise decision to play himself five minutes after his famous mug shot was taken. (It's not really Ben Stiller, who looks to be, as he sometimes is, the weak link in his own movie.) If you throw in the Robert Downey Jr. performance that seems almost guaranteed to be wonderful, and a highly publicized totally secret appearance by Tom Cruise as a Hollywood crazy man, there might be hope. Of course, it's possible this trailer represents the entire non–Ben Stiller content of the movie. —Linda Holmes