Disability-issues blogger Patricia Bauer reported this weekend that DreamWorks has agreed to meet with advocates about their concerns over Tropic Thunder and its subplot in which actor Tug Speedman (Ben Stiller) makes a blatant Oscar move in the form of Simple Jack, a movie in which he plays a bucktoothed dolt. We tend to read the subplot as a fairly funny take on I Am Sam, Radio, and other head-slapping movies in which actors ham-handedly portray the developmentally disabled. Then again, we don't have disabled kids, so we're not quite as sensitive to the tagline on Simple Jack's "poster," "Once upon a time … there was a retard." (We do wish they'd used a fake tagline that was actually funny, though.)
Will DreamWorks do anything in response to these meetings, or will the studio — as one commenter darkly speculates on Bauer's blog — "pretend to listen … to get an idea of the arguments that they will have to get their PR department to respond to"? Surprisingly, DreamWorks already seems to be acting, since as of this morning, the once-elaborate spoof promotional Website for Simple Jack has totally disappeared.
‘Tropic Thunder’ update [Patricia E. Bauer]
Tropic Thunder: ‘Once upon a time … There was a retard’ [Patricia E. Bauer via NYT]
Simple Jack [Google cache]