Thursday, June 10, 2010

Gross, man.

Back in '08, I picked Tropic Thunder as one of my fave five of the year (for which I took no end of grief from some), but even though I loved (and still love) the movie, what I didn't love was Tom Cruise's extended "cameo" as Hollywood mogul Les Grossman.  That he drew so many accolades for such a showy, obnoxious turn is a testament, I think, to the power of lowered expectations.  My problem with Cruise's screen persona is that even when he does Oscar-bait stuff like Vanilla Sky or Valkyrie, too many of his actorly mannerisms shine through to ever allow him truly vanish into a role (and I don't see that impression changing later this month with Knight and Day, which frankly looks terrible).

Just compare Cruise in Tropic Thunder with his castmate Robert Downey's Oscar-nommed role as black-faced Aussie actor Kirk Lazarus to see what I mean about disappearing inside a character.  Anyway, Grossman made a comeback a few days ago during the MTV VMA show (which I didn't watch -- mainly because I have a soul, but also because I'm not thirteen), and now, because no one in particular demanded it, Cruise is set to reprise Grossman in a straight-ahead feature.  The as-yet-untitled Les Grossman flick will be produced by Cruise and Tropic director Ben Stiller, and released by Paramount, who apparently miss their mid-to-late-'90s role as sole purveyor of features based on one-note Saturday Night Live characters.


Brian said...

I love how TROPIC THUNDER starts with a "scathingly satirical" faux trailer about how stupid "fat suit" comedies are...then goes on to feature it's own overacting actor, hamming it up to 11, dancing in a fat suit to rap music.

Tom Cruise has become the kid on the playground who will keep embarrassing himself - in this case, making funny voices that are only funny for about a minute or two - as long as the other kids are too distracted laughing to call him crazy anymore. After a short while, the novelty of the voice will wear off and people will say the voice is dumb and everyone will go back to calling him crazy again.

Zaki said...

I actually didn't think about that extra layer of irony, but it's a good point!