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[[caption-width-right:350:''"You never go full retard."'']]

->''"Of the ten men sent, four returned.\\
Of those four, three wrote books about what happened.\\
Of those three books, two got published.\\
Of those two, just one got a movie deal.\\
This is the story of the people who attempted to make that movie."''

''Tropic Thunder'' is a satirical American action comedy film (with more focus on the comedy) from 2008, based ([[VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory very loosely]]) on the [[TroubledProduction train wreck]] that was the production of the classic ''Film/ApocalypseNow''.

Movie producer Les Grossman (Creator/TomCruise) is in need of an [[OscarBait award-winning movie]] and decides to make the best and most expensive UsefulNotes/VietnamWar movie ever. He hires rookie director Damien Cockburn (Creator/SteveCoogan) and five ''very'' different actors, who cause quite a stir in the press due to their very different backgrounds:

* The action star: Tugg Speedman (Creator/BenStiller), whose attempts at serious acting (most notoriously, the OscarBait film ''[[InspirationallyDisadvantaged Simple Jack]]'') have been disastrous so far, nearly ruining his career.
* The award-winning Australian actor: Kirk Lazarus (Creator/RobertDowneyJr), who is known for his violent tabloid antics and for taking MethodActing [[UpToEleven up to eleven]] -- most recently, going through cosmetic surgery to play an African-American.
* The comedian: Jeff Portnoy (Creator/JackBlack), who specializes in disgusting and vulgar comedy and playing multiple roles in one movie. He's also addicted to "[[BlatantLies jelly beans]]."
* The popular rapper turned actor: [[Creator/AlPacino Alpa Chino]] (Brandon T. Jackson), who markets an energy drink called "Booty Sweat" and doesn't take kindly to Kirk's portrayal of a black man.
* And the unknown actor: Kevin Sandusky (Creator/JayBaruchel), also the only one who had to audition for his role and the only one (aside from Lazarus, ''maybe'') who actually prepared for it.

Naturally, nothing goes as planned, much to Cockburn's frustration. In a matter of days, the movie is way over budget and the actors won't cooperate. Having finally become fed up with the actors, and following the suggestions of the film's subject and consultant John "Four Leaf" Tayback (Creator/NickNolte), he decides to drop the actors in the jungle and simulate realistic warfare, hoping to get real emotions from them. This plan drives production even further off the rails when the cast runs afoul of a Laotian drug ring known as Flaming Dragon, and the actors end up having to become the soldiers they're playing, despite not knowing how to use their weapons or navigate through the jungle.

A critical and financial success, this [[CrossesTheLineTwice rude, crude,]] and very funny film mocks the way UsefulNotes/{{Hollywood}} works and, to that end, [[{{Troperiffic}} it showcases filmmaking tropes]] like a peacock displaying his feathers, and the ''extremely'' GenreSavvy characters poke fun at them.

A spinoff focusing on the Les Grossman character has been announced in 2010, but little else has come out of it since.
!!This film contains examples of:

* AccidentalMisnaming: Sandusky, whose name is mispronounced until the very end.
* ActingForTwo: ''The Fatties: Fart 2'', an in-universe parody of ''Film/TheNuttyProfessor'', starring [[OverlyLongGag Jeff Portnoy, Jeff Portnoy, Jeff Portnoy, and Jeff Portnoy]] as America's favorite obese family.
* AffablyEvil: One of Tugg's captors offers him tea. Tugg, still in character, rudely kicks it away. The captor is visibly hurt, and stutters that he was trying to be polite.
* AffectionateParody: ''Tropic Thunder'' is a very mean-spirited parody of movie production in general, but it also shows that there ''are'' people in the industry who are very passionate about it.
* AllStarCast: In-universe, the movie being filmed contains a comedy star, a high-profile rapper, an Academy Award winner and a former action hero.
* AllThereInTheManual: The DVD bonus disc contains several in-universe documentaries about the movie which explain some of the plot threads that were left hanging, such as [[spoiler:why Cockburn wasn't mentioned more.]]
* AndStarring: "Introducing Brandon Soo Hoo / With Matthew [=McConaughey=] / And Tom Cruise as Les Grossman." Promotional material gave the "and" credit to Nick Nolte, since Cruise's involvement was meant to be a surprise.
* ArmoredClosetGay: [[spoiler:Alpa Chino has shades of this when you look at his career as a supposed sex-maniac. Granted, if you listen to the song, "I Love The Pussy," it sounds like a guy who's obsessed with keeping himself in there.]]
* ArmorPiercingQuestion: "Or are you a dude who has no idea what dude he is, and claims to know what dude he is, by playing other dudes?" Basically, Speedman is pointing out that Kirk [[MethodActing method acts]] so hard that he loses his true self. During their conversation Kirk stays in character because he can't remember who he is any more and breaks down crying saying that he's a no body.
* ArtisticLicenseAwards:
** In the “never go full retard” speech, Kirk mentions Peter Sellers in ''Film/BeingThere'' as an example of how to correctly play InspirationallyDisadvantaged. However, Sellers was only nominated for ''Being There''. He didn’t actually win.
** At the end of the film, Kirk presents the Academy Award for Best Actor to [[spoiler: Tugg]]. However, the award for Best Actor is presented by the winner of Best ''Actress'' from the previous year; if the winner is unavailable, it's still someone of the opposite gender. Possibly subverted, as it's AllThereInTheManual that Kirk actually ''has'' won an Oscar for Best Actress. Of course, that he was ever nominated for Best Actress at all comes back around to artistic license.
* ATeamFiring: The actors' guns are all armed with blanks.
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: [[ChekhovsGun The [=TiVo=]]].
--> '''Rick Peck''': You don't need to explain to me why you need [=TiVo=]... or clean water. Clean sheets. Food. Shelter.
* AssShove: [[spoiler:Portnoy's handgun.]]
-->'''Portnoy:''' YEAH!
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking: Les Grossman uses some wicked threats to intimidate people. Boy, does he ever.
* BadassAndBaby: A key part of Tugg Speedman's [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZocvme6cYc big franchise.]]
* BasedOnAGreatBigLie: Spoofed. We're told at the start this is a record of a true story. [[spoiler:We find out halfway through that Four Leaf, "UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar veteran" who wrote the book the film-within-the-film is based on (and is on the crew, suggesting the EnforcedMethodActing concept), is a total liar who never served overseas and is only pretending to be handicapped.]]
* BearsAreBadNews: The panda bear that Tugg Speedman fights and kills.
* BeautyInversion: Creator/TomCruise as Grossman.
* BecomingTheMask: Kirk Lazarus will get so involved in his characters that he promises he won't break character 'til he's done the DVDCommentary. True to his word, [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome Robert Downey Jr. does the film's DVD commentary in character as Kirk Lazarus]]. Even better: He does the commentary as Kirk Lazarus ''in character as Lincoln Osiris''. He's "a dude playin' a dude, disguised as another dude!" He gets so into his character he has to be reminded at one point that he is Kirk Lazarus.
* BiTheWay: It's hinted that Kirk Lazarus is bi when he says, "Everybody's gay once in a while. This is Hollywood!"
* BigNo: Several times.
* BerserkButton:
** [[spoiler:Jeff Portnoy was '''really''' sick and tired of people laughing at his farts...]]
** [[DownplayedTrope Not as serious]], but Kirk comes extremely close to breaking character as Alpa reels off every Aussie joke he can think of. Which is itself a result of his getting pissed off at Lazarus' UncleTomfoolery.
* BrickJoke:
** Tobey Maguire's role in ''Satan's Alley'' gets him nominated for an Oscar.
** And Kevin and Alpa end up with (respectively) [[spoiler:Creator/JenniferLoveHewitt and Lance Bass]].
** Also a meta-example: Kirk Lazarus, while in his Sgt. Osiris mode, mentions that he "won't break character until the DVD release." Sure enough, when Tropic Thunder was release on DVD, Robert Downey Jr. does the commentary in-character to Kirk Lazarus, himself acting in-character to Sgt. Osiris.
* BriefAccentImitation:
** Tugg mocking Cockburn, still under the impression [[spoiler:that Cockburn isn't decapitated]].
** Alpa throws on an Australian accent to mock Lazarus.
* BrokenAce: Kirk.
* TheCameo: So many.
* CampfireCharacterExploration: The actors discuss relationships around a campfire, which eventually leads to [[spoiler:Alpa Chino coming out of the closet.]]
* CareerResurrection: In-universe for Tugg Speedman.
* CelebrityParadox:
** Ben Stiller (Tugg Speedman)'s wife Christine Taylor co-starred with Tugg Speedman on ''Simple Jack''.
** Kirk Lazarus and Tobey Maguire both co-starred in ''Satan's Alley''. Maguire and Robert Downey Jr. co-starred in ''Film/WonderBoys'' in real life.
* CelebritySurvivor: A variation; instead of [[AfterTheEnd a post-apocalyptic world]], it's the cartel-run jungles of Southeast Asia where a bunch of prima-donna actors are dumped by their pissed-off director.
* ChasedByAngryNatives: Tugg has to OutrunTheFireball when the bridge is blown trying to stop the Angry Natives. Now ''that's'' {{Troperiffic}}.
* ChekhovsGun: [[spoiler:The [=TiVo=]]].
* AChildShallLeadThem: The Flaming Dragon cartel is led by a prepubescent boy.
* ClusterFBomb: Les Grossman, especially when [[spoiler:Flaming Dragon call with a ransom demand after they capture Tugg]]. Gratefully transcribed from the DVD:
-->'''Grossman''': This is Les Grossman. Who is this?\\
'''Flaming Dragon Mook''': This is Flaming Dragon!\\
'''Grossman''': Oh. Okay. Flaming Dragon. ''Fuckface.'' First, take a step back, and literally '''''[[SuddenlyShouting FUCK YOUR OWN FACE!!]]''''' *{{Beat}}* Now, I don't know what kind of Pan-Pacific bullshit power play you're trying to pull on me, but Asia, Jack, is my territory. So whatever you're thinking, you better think again! Otherwise I'm gonna have to head down there and I will rain down an ungodly fucking firestorm upon you! You're gonna have to call the fucking United Nations and get a fucking binding resolution to keep me from fucking destroying you. I'm talking about ''scorched Earth'', motherfucker! I will massacre you! '''I WILL FUCK YOU UP!!!'''
* ColdTurkeysAreEverywhere: Jeff Portnoy is ''not'' in good shape when he finds out they're stumbling upon an opium farm.
* ComicallyMissingThePoint:
** During the TV broadcast, we cut to footage of Tugg Speedman on Tyra Banks' talk show:
--->'''Tyra Banks''': Someone close to you said "One more flop and it's over."\\
'''Speedman''': Somebody said they were close to me?
** In a later conversation between Tugg and his agent:
--->'''Speedman''': I killed one, Rick. The thing I love the most in the world!\\
'''Peck''': ({{beat}}) A hooker. Alright, you killed a hooker. Calm down, here's what you're gonna do...
* ContrivedCoincidence: Right as Tugg throws a dud grenade at [[spoiler:armed Flaming Dragon guards]], Tayback and Cody, concerned about the scene while elsewhere, detonate C4 to make the grenade believable.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: Les Grossman again, [[PlayingAgainstType played by]] Creator/TomCruise. Crosses the line when he decides to [[spoiler:leave Tugg to be killed by the Flaming Dragons because he isn't profitable any more.]]
* CreatorBreakdown: In-universe -- nearly ''everyone''.
* CriticalResearchFailure: InUniverse, Tugg confuses the Teen Choice Awards with the Kids Choice Awards by saying that Kevin would be slimed. Given how Tugg is, this is to be expected.
* DancePartyEnding: [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFz7rZY_DDI: Tom Cruise performing a one-man Dance Party Ending over the credits.]]
* DeathAsComedy: [[spoiler:Damien finishes giving a RousingSpeech and then gets blown up by a landmine]].
* DramaticGunCock:
--> '''Kirk''' Yeah! And we's trained actors motherfucker!
* DudeNotFunny: In-universe; Chino's joke to Lazarus about a dingo eating his baby, which almost causes him to break character.
* DudeWheresMyRespect: Implied why Portnoy joined the movie.
-->''''Sandusky:''' You are not a screwup; you make so many people laugh!
-->'''Portnoy:''' They only laugh at my ''farts''!
* DyeingForYourArt: [[invoked]]
** The cast was supposed to attend a boot camp prior to production but most skipped it. Only Kevin was serious enough to go through the training and even read the book in preparation.
** The Caucasian Kirk Lazarus is so intent on inhabiting the role of the African-American Lincoln Osiris that he undergoes a medical procedure to dye his ''skin''.
* DysfunctionJunction: Everyone involved in the production has a serious problem.
* EarthShatteringPoster: ''Scorcher'' posters.
* EnfanteTerrible:
** Tran, a little boy who leads the drug cartel.
** [[spoiler:An even younger boy whom Tugg tries to adopt turns out to be one too.]]
* EnforcedMethodActing: An InUniverse example; Damien really takes this to the extreme when he drops his actors in the middle of a real war zone. It still doesn't work, except on Speedman -- who insists everything is a trick [[spoiler:even after Cockburn explodes into giblets]].
* EveryoneIsBi: Referenced at one point ("Everyone's gay once in a while!", after [[spoiler:Alpa Chino accidentally outs himself]]), and hinted to be completely true in-story.
* FakeActionPrologue: Two sets -- the opening of the movie is [[RealTrailerFakeMovie fake trailers]] for films the lead characters are in that show even before the title logos appear; then we get to the big Vietnam fight scene....[[ProsceniumReveal which is just a movie they're shooting]].
* FailedASpotCheck: Peck tries to ask the FourEyesZeroSoul Grossman if he needs glasses when he demands to know if Grossman even read Tugg Speedman's contract.
* TheFilmOfTheBook: The movie being shot.
-->'''Sandusky''': You guys... ''did'' read the book, right?\\
'''Lazarus:''': [[RussianReversal I don't read the script, the script reads me!]]\\
'''Sandusky:''' What does that even ''mean!?''
* FiveManBand:
** TheLeader: Tugg Speedman, TheCaptain. Or so he thinks.
** TheLancer: Kirk Lazarus.
** TheBigGuy: Jeff Portnoy, the PluckyComicRelief.
** TheSmartGuy: Kevin Sandusky, arguably the {{Geek}}.
** TheChick: Alpa Chino, the SpecialGuest.
** Bertha the Water Buffalo: TeamPet
* TheFool: Pretty much all the characters. Except Kevin Sandusky, who's treated as this by everyone else.
* FourEyesZeroSoul: Les Grossman is a downplayed example, he may not be a diabolical madman bent on world domination, but he is perfectly willing to let Tugg die in a jungle on the other side of the globe just to make a buck.
* FreezeFrameBonus: If you look at the other best actor nominees, in addition to Tugg and Jon Voight you will see: Dustin Hoffman playing a blind man, Tom Hanks playing someone in a wheelchair and Tobey Maguire from the ''Satan's Alley'' [[BrickJoke fake trailer at the beginning of the film]].
* {{Gasshole}}: Jeff, in-character for ''The Fatties, Fart 2''. He later cries about this, stating that people only laugh at him for his farts, and becomes a BrickJoke when some Flaming Dragon goons make the mistake of laughing at his farts at the wrong moment.
* GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff: In Universe: [[spoiler:The drug dealers are big fans of ''Simple Jack''.]] [[spoiler:[[SeriousBusiness To the point that when Tugg Speedman happens to fall into their laps]], [[LoonyFan they make him]] [[IronicHell reenact the movie 24 hours a day]]...and he actually enjoys it]].
* GunsAkimbo: [[spoiler:Lazarus revealing his guns on the drug compound guards after his cover his blown attempting to sneak in.]] "I'M A LEAD FARMER, MOTHERFUCKA!"
* HandSignals: Tugg goes through several in a row during the trek through the jungle. As he's just throwing them up at random, the other actors are left thoroughly confused.
* HaveIMentionedIAmHeterosexualToday: Alpa Chino is a rapper who's mostly famous for writing a song where he sings about "wet pussies". The song is used to advertise an energy drink. [[spoiler:He's actually gay]].
* HeroicBlueScreenOfDeath:
** Tugg loses it after he [[spoiler:kills a panda, an animal he loves more than anything else in the world.]]
** Kirk has a breakdown after [[spoiler:Tugg convinces him that he's having an identity crisis while Kirk is trying to get Tugg to snap out of the role he's immersed in.]]
* HighPressureBlood: The tendency for "realistic" UsefulNotes/VietnamWar movies to engage in this is parodied here; the scene we see from [[ShowWithinAShow the film within a film]] has characters shooting jets of blood from their heads and spewing more intestines than would fit inside their bodies, all while the hero is shot a preposterous number of times [[MadeOfIron to little effect]].
* HotBlooded: Les Grossman, the producer, flies off the handle at the slightest provocation. He will vacillate between roaring inventive profanity at the top of his lungs and calmly taking care of business.
* IChooseToStay: Near the end of the movie, [[spoiler:Tugg tells the rest of the crew that he is staying with the Flaming Dragon, as they appreciate his performances and he feels he has something akin to a family there in the shape of a young child who enjoys his performances. The moment he walks out of sight, gunshots are heard and he comes running back with the child on his back, stabbing him repeatedly, and the rest of the cartel chasing him while he shouts that he was mistaken.]]
* IceCreamKoan:
** Kirk Lazarus tries to explain why he doesn't read scripts:
---> '''Lazarus:''' I don't read script. Script reads me.\\
'''Sandusky:''' What the hell does that even mean?
** Subverted with Speedman telling Kirk, "Or are you a dude who has no idea what dude he is, and claims to know what dude he is, by playing other dudes?" which to the other actors sounds like gibberish, but describes Kirk so well that he breaks down into tears.
* ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy: Sure, the heroes use blanks, but thankfully, the bad guys can't shoot straight either. Aside from Tran and his RPG.
* ImprobableAge: Tran is the head of a massive drug compound despite being ten years old. Bizarrely, this is an example of TruthInTelevision, since he is based ([[TroublingUnchildhoodBehavior cigars and all]]) on a pair of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_and_Luther_Htoo twin guerilla leaders]] who first took command when they were ''nine''.
* InfantImmortality: Despite being very close to an ''explosion'', none of the children in the movie die. One of them even gets crushed through several floors by ''Creator/JackBlack'' and survives.
* ImColdSoCold: Parodied in the movie within the movie, when Four-Leaf loses his hands trying to deflect a stick grenade from detonating near the evac chopper. [[spoiler:Parodied for "real" when Tugg claims to not be able to feel his legs while they're trying to escape from the drug compound. Turns out it's just that he's sitting in a pool of cold, muddy water.]]
* InspirationallyDisadvantaged: Parodied with ''Simple Jack'' and (along with being {{lampshaded}}) Lazarus' "Full Retard" speech.
-->'''Lazarus''': Check it out. Dustin Hoffman, ''Film/RainMan'', look retarded, act retarded, not retarded. Count toothpicks, cheat at cards. Autistic, sure. Not retarded. You know, Tom Hanks, ''Film/ForrestGump''? Slow, yes. Retarded, maybe. Braces on his legs. But he charmed the pants off Nixon and won a ping-pong competition. That ain't retarded. Peter Sellers, ''Film/BeingThere'' Infantile, yes. Retarded, no. You went full retard, man. Never go full retard. You don't buy that? Ask Sean Penn, 2001, ''Film/IAmSam''. Remember? Went full retard, went home empty handed...
* {{Introdump}}: It is literally the second scene in the film.
* IronicEcho:
** "I can't feel my legs." First as part of the film within a film, and then said during the final escape sequence. Except that Tugg's able to cry and can't feel his legs because he's sitting on a cold puddle.
** "I don't know what it's called. I just know the sound it makes when it takes a man's life."
* JerkAss: The EXTREMELY foul-mouthed Les Grossman.
* KarmaHoudini: Les Grossman basically attempts to murder Speedman, but suffers zero consequences as a result. Hell, he gets to be the focus of the sequel!
* KayfabeMusic: Alpa Chino is a rapper [[spoiler:who is overly heterosexual in his music and videos, but is secretly gay.]]
* KillerRabbit:
** Half Squat, Tugg's adopted son.
** Don't forget the cute... cuddly... vicious panda.
* LandMineGoesClick: [[spoiler:...and director goes ''[[LudicrousGibs boom]]''.]]
-->'''Cockburn:''' [[OhCrap Oh!]]
* LeaningOnTheFourthWall:
** Is it Kirk Lazarus playing the dude disguised as another dude (Kirk Lazarus as Lincoln Osiris as [[spoiler:lead-farming Indochinese infiltrator]]) or Creator/RobertDowneyJr (as all of the above)?
** "I think I know a ''prop head'' when I see one!" says Tugg as he hefts what is an obvious prop head, seeing as Cockburn's actor is still alive...
** Well, if you want to go there, "Osiris' rifles are full of blanks, Tran's aren't." Obviously, all the guns are full of blanks. In the same vein, the bridge demolition took a lot more work than one guy with dynamite sticks and det-cord stringing stuff to a single clacker. Indeed, the making of the movie about making a movie that never got made must have been epic.
* LostInCharacter: Kirk Lazarus has this as a recurring problem for his roles. Eventually, Tugg gets traumatized into this.
* MadBomber: Cody, who even Four Leaf thinks is insane. He nearly blinded Creator/JamieLeeCurtis on ''FreakyFriday''.
* MagicPlasticSurgery: Kirk's transformation from white to black in itself is not that impressive. What's really impressive is that [[spoiler:it "wears off" over time]]. Not ''that'' unrealistic; the book ''Black Like Me'' is a real-life account of a white man masquerading as black for a social experiment, and has him having to recharge his "blackness" several times over six weeks. The surgery in his case, however, was very different from what Kirk is shown to have done.
* MeanCharacterNiceActor: Tugg Speedman despite playing action heroes. He donates to charity to save pandas, co-wrote a children's book and is close with his agent.
* MeaningfulName: Les Grossman sure has a gross temper.
* MetaCasting: All over the place, you can almost see the actors as themselves in a less meta movie. All of the actors have elements of themselves, with only marginal changes (usually [[CompositeCharacter combining elements of other famous actors]]):
** Jeff Portnoy's personality is the same as most of the characters Jack Black plays, but stars in movies of the style popularized by Creator/MikeMyers or Creator/EddieMurphy. Arguably, Portnoy is a parody of what Black ''could'' end up becoming if he doesn't watch where he's cast.
** Creator/RobertDowneyJr is critically acclaimed and gets too into his job, just like Kirk Lazarus, but Lazarus also has some shades of Creator/RussellCrowe (an Academy Award-winning Australian actor known for having a temper) and Creator/HeathLedger (an Australian actor known for his MethodActing that starred in [[Film/BrokebackMountain a movie centered on a gay relationship]]).
** Jay Baruchel plays that guy in the movie who no one remembers because he wasn't played by an A-lister -- not even mentioned on the ''posters''.
** The main exception (and something often commented upon) is that Ben Stiller mostly plays comedic roles, not {{Action Hero}}es. Creator/TomCruise's cameo PlayingAgainstType was part of the joke, but has probably never played a character this... in-your-face. With the possible exception of ''Film/{{Magnolia}}''...
* MethodActing: In-universe, Kirk Lazarus undergoes surgery for a better ''racial'' resemblance and doesn't drop from character until he's done with the DVD commentaries.
* TheMillstone: Jeff manages to [[spoiler:fuck up the rescue plan (as fucked as it already was) by going straight for the drugs and allowing an open enough distraction for the more genre-savvy guards to reach for their guns.]]
* MindScrew: Kirk trying to get Speedmann out of his HeroicBSOD promptly backfires.
-->'''Tugg''': Or are you a dude who has no idea what dude he is, and claims to know what dude he is, by playing other dudes?
* MisplacedWildlife: Ain't no pandas in Indochina.
* MistakenForBadass: The Flaming Dragon gang are stunned by what they think is a heavily-armed American military team. One of them steps on a landmine? The others ''make fun of him'' while using his disembodied head as a prop for their amusement. Under heavy fire? They stand up, chests squared, and spray the forest with assault fire. The gangsters planning to ambush them are visibly shocked by how fearless the actors appear by sheer virtue of not actually knowing what's going on.
* {{Mondegreen}}: "Alpa Chino" is clearly meant to sound exactly like "Al Pacino". See NamedAfterSomebodyFamous below.
* MoreDakka: Cody, the special effects demolitionist played by Creator/DannyMcBride, runs on this trope.
* MyHovercraftIsFullOfEels: Played with when Lazarus engages in Chinese [[spoiler:with Tran to distract the drug workers from the group's rescue of Tugg]]; while capable of producing coherent sentences ("I find this pale eel scavenging like a catfish inside of my rice paddy"), he's just as prone to make complete nonsense ("I have shrimp for your daughter").
* NamedAfterSomebodyFamous: Alpa Chino. As in Creator/AlPacino. This is an in-universe example, given the rap industry's obsession with ''Film/{{Scarface 1983}}''. Played off in a hilarious scene in the Director's Cut when a drug dealer realizes Alpa is using blanks:
--> '''Drug Dealer''': ''[crawling towards real gun]'' Like him in ''Carlito's Way''? ''Devil's Advocate'', ''Dog Day Afternoon''. ''Real'' Al Pacino!\\
'''Alpa''': No, that's a totally different dude -- ''oh shit!!''
* NemeanSkinning: The panda.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: This movie is practically the Bible of this trope.
** Jeff Portnoy is a fairly transparent parody of Creator/EddieMurphy (particularly in films like ''Film/TheNuttyProfessor'' and ''Film/{{Norbit}}''), with generous helpings of Creator/ChrisFarley's fatness and drug problems, and washed-up comedy actors in general.
** Kirk Lazarus is a similarly transparent parody of Creator/HeathLedger (his appearance in ''Satan's Alley'' all but confirms this), mixed with Creator/DanielDayLewis' method acting, the tabloid and anger antics of Creator/RussellCrowe, Creator/MelGibson, Creator/ColinFarrell, and Creator/ChristianBale's combination of the two (Kirk Lazarus was originally supposed to be Irish/British).
** Tugg Speedman is a spoof of a young Creator/SylvesterStallone that has a small frustrated parallel with Creator/TomHanks, who entered in ''Film/ForrestGump'' (''Simple Jack'') and ''Film/SavingPrivateRyan'' (''Tropic Thunder'').
** Alpa Chino is another not-so-subtle parody of the trend of rappers who are increasingly showing up in films as actors, and his Booty Sweat was a direct parody of the various brands of soft drinks pimped out by various mainstream rappers, mostly Music/{{Nelly}}'s Pimp Juice. A direct reference to Music/RKelly's peeing scandal pops up in the Director's Cut: "''Hell naw'' I didn't pee on that girl..."
** Les Grossman is based on Stuart Cornfeld, the producer of ''Film/TheFly1986'', ''Film/{{Zoolander}}'' and, yes, ''Tropic Thunder''.
* NoMatterHowMuchIBeg: One scene has Jeff Portnoy going through withdrawal, and asks to be tied to a tree until he "gets it out of his system." He tells the others not to untie him, no matter how much he begs. Predictably, he does, even going as far as to promise [[spoiler:recently outed]] Alpa Chino a blowjob.
* NoOneGetsLeftBehind: Mocked at the end, with [[OverlyLongGag multiple characters]] reappearing and getting spotted by someone already in the chopper who runs back to help them just as they were about to take off.
* NoodleIncident:
** Cody lost a finger during production of ''Film/DrivingMissDaisy'' (did that movie even ''have'' pyrotechnics?) and he almost blinded Jamie Lee-Curtis while making ''Film/FreakyFriday'' (same question).
** The news segments on each of the actors suggest they've done some... odd things... in the past.
* NWordPrivileges:
--> '''Kirk''': For four hundred years, that word has kept us down.\\
'''Alpa''': ''[utterly bewildered]'' What the fuck?
* ObfuscatingDisability:
-->'''Lazarus:''' You've got [[spoiler:hands]]?\\
'''[[spoiler:Tayback]]:''' Yes.\\
'''Lazarus:''' '''FUCK, YOU'VE GOT [[spoiler:HANDS]]?!'''
* OneDialogueTwoConversations: Les Grossman threatening Flaming Dragon. "Scorched earth" is a means for a firm to prevent a takeover, while the United Nations comment is meant to be hyperbole. Flaming Dragon can only take the comments at face value, painting a pretty nasty prospect for them.
* OneSceneWonder: In-universe. Les Grossman, although just having three scenes in the entire movie, has become one of the most memorable characters. He's even getting his own film.
* OneWomanWail: Constantly parodied throughout the soundtrack.
* OnlySaneMan:
** Compared to the others, Kevin is a perfectly normal individual. A bit of a {{geek}}, maybe, but we, of all people, have no room to criticize.
--->'''Kevin:''' WOW. The insecurity level on you guys is '''ridiculous!'''
** Before his ArmoredClosetGay reveal, Alpa was also something of a straight.man, pardon the pun. The Director's Cut adds a few more scenes of unprofessionalism on his part though.
* OscarBait:
** Kirk's specialty. Tugg tried this with ''Simple Jack'', playing a mentally challenged man, and it didn't go so well. At one point, Kirk explains ''why'' to him, citing many of the performances of that sort of role listed at the trope entry. And of course, the film the characters are making is an example of this.
** Incidentally, of all the crazy things in the movie, the key controversy about this film was its supposed treatment of the mentally challenged -- which may be considered a case of CompletelyMissingThePoint. That would explain the downright surreal "Special Message From Creator/{{Dreamworks}}" [[PublicServiceAnnouncement PSA]] on the [=DVD=].
** Creator/RobertDowneyJr gets nominated for an Oscar for the role of Lazarus. While parodying the late Heath Ledger who won that same Oscar.
* OutrunTheFireball: Subverted. Tugg does this near the end, when the bridge to his helicopter's landing spot is rigged with explosives. He isn't quick enough, but he's alright afterwards.
* OverdrawnAtTheBloodBank: Parodied at the beginning, where a soldier suffers a [[PrettyLittleHeadshots headshot]] through his helmet and proceeds to spout a three foot high fountain of blood into the faces of his comrades, probably about three gallons in total.
* PaintingTheMedium: The fake spots for the characters' fake movies (and energy drink) air right after the real trailers do.
* PandaingToTheAudience: InUniverse, Tugg does conservation work for pandas, so when he is attacked by one in the middle of the night and kills it in self defense (not knowing what it is), he is horrified when he makes his discovery.
* PrimaDonnaDirector: Damien Cockburn gets this rap amongst people, but it's really only because his actors ''and'' his producer are the real prima donnas constantly breathing down his neck.
* ProductPlacement: There's less in the movie being made than the one we're watching.
* {{Pun}}: Grossman calling Pecker a "big dick playa".
* PunnyName: "Alpa Chino". Say it out loud.
* RealAwardFictionalCharacter: Kirk Lazarus is a multiple-Oscar-winning actor. The film-about-the-making-of-the-film-within-the-film itself picks up a number of Oscars and Lazarus gets another one.
* RealTrailerFakeMovie: The movie opens with three very-realistically-designed fake trailers and a commercial to introduce the main characters, and what they usually do:
** ''Scorcher VI'': (Creator/BenStiller) Universal Pictures presents this parody of the typical cash-grabbing action summer blockbuster sequel:
--->'''Trailer Announcer:''' In 2013, when the Earth's rotation came to a halt, the world called on the one man who could make a difference. When it happened again, the world called on him once more. And no one saw it coming. [[PunctuatedForEmphasis THREE. MORE. TIMES.]] Now, the one man who made a difference five times before, [[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment is about to make a difference again]]. Only this time, it's different. \\
''[Speedman is shown standing on an iceberg, and everything in the background is frozen. He has a set of twins on him and he's holding two rifles]''\\
'''Tugg Speedman:''' Who left the fridge open?\\
'''Trailer Announcer:''' ''[voice over]'' Tugg Speedman. ''Scorcher VI: Global Meltdown''.\\
'''Tugg Speedman:''' [[HereWeGoAgain Here we go again]]. [[{{Sequelitis}} Again.]]
** ''The Fatties Fart 2'': (Creator/JackBlack) New Line Cinema presents this parody of ''Film/TheNuttyProfessor'':
--->'''Trailer Announcer:''' This summer, America's favorite obese family is back!\\
''[Jeff Portnoy is shown as different obese characters, all of whom start ripping giant farts in a French restaurant]'' \\
'''Trailer Announcer:''' [[Creator/JackBlack Jeff Portnoy]]... [[ActingForTwo Jeff Portnoy]]... [[RuleOfThree Jeff Portnoy]]... and [[OverlyLongGag Jeff Portnoy]] are ''The Fatties: Fart Two''...\\
'''Jeff Portnoy!!Biker:''' In some countries... ''[another Portnoy character lets out a giant fart]''... it's considered a compliment.\\
'''Trailer Announcer:''' ...Letting loose this summer.
** ''Satan's Alley'': (Creator/RobertDowneyJr) A ''Film/BrokebackMountain'' spoof presented by Fox Searchlight Pictures about a homosexual priest who falls in love with a younger monk (played by Creator/TobeyMaguire):
--->'''Trailer Announcer:''' In a time where to be different was to be condemned... ''[Lazarus and Tobey Maguire, both dressed as monks, look longingly at each other]''... and to be condemned was to die, one man chose to question his God. \\
''[Lazarus [[SkywardScream screams "GOD!"]]. Cut to shots of Lazarus and Maguire [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything grabbing each other's rosaries and twitching]] to the song "Sadeness (Part 1)" by {{Music/Enigma}}]''\\
'''Trailer Announcer:''' From Fox Searchlight, five-time Academy Award winner Kirk Lazarus...and MTV Movie Award Best Kiss winner Tobey Maguire; winner of the Beijing Film Festival's coveted Crying Monkey Award, ''Satan's Alley''.\\
'''Kirk Lazarus as Father O'Mallie:''' ''[whispers]'' I've been a bad, bad boy, Father....
** Even before the fake trailers, you have a... suggestive ad for the products Alpa Chino [[ProductPlacement pushes throughout the movie]]. As it happens, Booty Sweat is a real energy drink sold online. It had been temporarily available at theatres, too.
* RefugeInAudacity: The whole movie -- a clear case where toning it down would have actually made it much ''more'' offensive than it is. Among the tropes spoofed/subverted in this way:
** ChildrenAreInnocent -- The leader of the drug cartel is a preteen, [[spoiler:and the tot Tugg "adopts" at one point turns out to be quite vicious as well.]]
** GoryDiscretionShot -- None of that here.
** FamilyUnfriendlyViolence -- Tons. Kevin's character's evisceration in the prologue is a highlight.
** WhatMeasureIsANonCute -- Tugg kills a snarling animal in the dark -- [[spoiler:then is horrified to learn it was a panda, as he's done adorable ads with pandas for a wildlife conservation group. Doesn't stop there, as he skins the panda and ''wears its head'' as a GoingNative ensemble he creates for himself.]]
** Creator/RobertDowneyJr as Kirk Lazarus as Lincoln Osiris. A black guy acting stereotypically black? Not funny. A white guy acting stereotypically black? Really not funny. A white guy who's dedicated enough to convince himself that he actually ''is'' a black guy, to the point that ''he lectures an actual black guy who uses [[NWordPrivileges the n word]]?'' So ridiculous it can't be taken seriously.
* {{Retirony}}: The usual "girl back home" discussion promptly spins out into a reiteration of how messed-up the main characters are. [[spoiler:None of the leads even ''have'' a girl... though one of them has a guy he never talked to... In the end, since none of them have someone waiting for them, nothing comes of it.]]
* TheRuleOfFirstAdopters: A DiscussedTrope by Kevin about how Blu-Ray overpowered HD-DVD:
-->'''Kevin:''' Now, if you recall that whole hullabaloo where Hollywood was split into schisms, some studios backing Blu-ray disc, others backing HD DVD. People thought it would come down to pixel rate or refresh rate, and they're pretty much the same. What it came down to was a combination between gamers and porn. Now, whichever format porno backs is usually the one that becomes the uh most successful. But, you know, Sony, every UsefulNotes/PlayStation3 has a Blu-ray in it.\\
'''Kirk:''' ...You talkin' to me this whole time?\\
'''Kevin:''' I was talking to whoever was listening.
* RunningGag: People keep asking Four Leaf [[spoiler:"You've got ''hands''?!" after it's revealed he never lost them.]]
* SawStarWarsTwentySevenTimes: Alpa Chino says he's seen Tugg Speedman's first ''Scorcher'' movie twenty-four times when he was in 8th Grade.
* ScaryBlackMan: Kirk tries to be this, as he "gets into the role". Method acting at its finest, people. Take notes.
* ScreamsLikeALittleGirl: Alpa Chino, when Tugg kicks [[spoiler:Cockburn's disembodied head]] over him, lets out a very high-pitched shriek.
* {{Sequelitis}}: Parodied InUniverse. Tugg Speedman's ''Scorcher'' series received no less than five sequels. The 6th one, ''Scorcher VI: Global Meltdown'', turned the concept of the Earth, being a giant fireball in the previous movies, to a frozen wasteland because the previous films had exhausted the previously mentioned concept.
--> '''Tugg:''' Here we go again. Again...
* SeriousBusiness:
** Acting. The actors in the movie are all extremely passionate about their art, and Kirk and Tugg in particular take acting very seriously, as the former is an Academy Award winner famous for going to extreme lengths of MethodActing and the latter is a washed-up action star trying to gain recognition as a "serious" actor and win an Oscar.
** Tugg's manager is completely obsessed with ensuring he has [=TiVo=], as his contract stipulates it, and he is very attached to the man. [[spoiler:When things start going bad, he recognizes that the lack of [=TiVo=] can be used to show the contract has been broken, and near the end of the movie, he shows up at the last second to block a rocket-propelled grenade with a [=TiVo=] kit, having trekked through the jungle just to deliver it.]]
* ShapeShifterSwanSong: Near the end of the movie, Lazarus briefly cycles through some of his previous roles before finally breaking character and assuming his own identity.
* ShellShockedVeteran: Four Leaf Tayback, [[spoiler:[[PhonyVeteran or so it seems.]]]] See "Beds give me nightmares" and "I don't know what it's called. I just know the sound it makes... when it takes a man's life."
* ShellShockSilence: After the explosion just before the bridge, near the end of the film.
* ShoutOut:
** The computer used to identify "Flaming Dragon" is the same one Tony Stark used in ''Film/IronMan1''.
** Tugg dropping to his knees with his arms out in a [[CrucifiedHeroShot crucifixion pose]], similar to Willem Dafoe in ''Film/{{Platoon}}''. And then looking ridiculous as he overacts getting shot.
** In the intro scene where Tugg is trying to cry with Kirk holding his.. hands, you can hear a theme imitating ''Film/SavingPrivateRyan'' 's one, as when Pvt. Ryan talks to [[spoiler: Cpt. Miller before he dies at the end]].
** The party early in the film bears a resemblance to the out-of-control Playboy party in ''Film/ApocalypseNow''. Another ''Film/ApocalypseNow'' reference is the scene when Kirk tells the others he was a saucier, like Chef does in ''Film/ApocalypseNow''.
** The production problems of the in-universe Tropic Thunder are based on the infamous production cycle of ''Apocalypse Now'', which also went insanely over budget, over schedule and drove Francis Ford Coppola to mental breakdown and attempted suicide.
** When Tugg is [[OutrunTheFireball outrunning the exploding bridge]], Tugg is knocked in a similar way that Creator/TomCruise was knocked into a car in ''Film/MissionImpossibleIII''. See also OutrunTheFireball.
** "That's the theme song for ''Series/TheJeffersons''!"
** When Kirk is trying to snap Speedman out of his trance and go home, the lighting and shadow on Speedman's face when he says, "I ''am'' home" mirror Marlon Brando's final moments as Kurtz in ''Film/ApocalypseNow''. The horror!
** A really subtle one: The shot of Tugg removing his Simple Jack makeup in the camp is very similar to the shot of Chaplin removing his tramp makeup in the opening of 1992's biopic "Chaplin". Bonus points for Chaplin being another OscarBait film which starred Creator/RobertDowneyJr in his first Oscar nominated role.
** When Kirk enters the gang's camp in a wide straw hat and poncho, then opens fire, it is very similar to a BigDamnHeroes moment by Lee Van Cleef's character in the SpaghettiWestern Death Rides a Horse.
** The shot of Jeff poised next to the pile of heroin (itself piled into a similar shape to the mountain out of ''Film/CloseEncountersOfTheThirdKind'') is a pastiche of Indy about to pick up the statue in the intro of ''Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk''.
** ''Satan's Alley'', the film that won the Beijing Film Festival's coveted Crying Monkey Award, is a spoof of ''Film/BrokebackMountain''.
** Les Grossman's look appears to be based on Tom Cruise's fellow Brat Packers Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen's facial hair and prosthetic balding heads from the 2000 film ''Rated X'', where they played similarly foul-mouthed pornography moguls Jim and Artie Mitchell.
* ShoutingShooter: Parodied with Alpa, who, [[spoiler: during the group's first encounter with Flaming Dragon]], kicks a leg out and does a very Michael Jackson-esque yell.
* SirNotAppearingInThisTrailer: Kevin. Alpa Chino, to a lesser extent, since you can see some of him.
* SirSwearsalot: Les Grossman is the king of this trope.
* SkywardScream: Tugg, after [[spoiler:killing a panda in the jungle]], combines it with a BigNo.
* SmugSnake: Grossman.
* StopBeingStereotypical: Played for laughs, whenever Kirk chastises Alpa to the latter's annoyance and bemusement.
* StraightGay: [[spoiler:Alpa Chino.]]
* StuffBlowingUp: Well, when one of the secondary characters is a [[MadBomber pyrotechnician]]... He promptly wants to go back to catering after he witnesses a ''real'' explosion.
-->'''Cody:''' [[MemeticMutation BIG ASS TITTIES!]]
* StunnedSilence: of the stunned horror variety from the Flaming Dragon henchman on phone with Les Grossman after his "[[ClusterFBomb fuck your own face]]" tirade.
* StylisticSuck:
** The pre-movie faux Trailers. Beginning with a pretty bad rap video/ad for "Booty Sweat", and ending with Satan's Alley, which consists of Lazarus and Maguire [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything grabbing each other's rosaries and twitching]] set to lame techno beats. Then you get to the Tropic Thunder intro...
** The "real" ''Tropic Thunder'' movie being made serves a parody of epic war films - out of universe, of course.
* SuddenlyAlwaysKnewThat:
** Kirk Lazarus.
---> '''Portnoy''': How the hell do you know Chinese?\\
'''Lazarus''': ''Land of Silk and Money'' with [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gong_li Gong Li]]. Second Globe, third Oscar. Prepped for that one by working in a Beijing textile factory for 8 months.
** [[spoiler:...Which turns into gibberish, much to the consternation of the guards.]]
* SuddenlyShouting: See "ClusterFBomb" above.
* TalkativeLoon: Portnoy, as his "vitamins" and "jelly beans" wear off.
* TakeAThirdOption: [[spoiler:Pecker, Tugg's agent, is offered the chance to try and save Tugg from terrorists, or to get a G5 Gulfstream jet and "''Llllots'' of money." He takes the Jet ''and'' the money -- and [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome uses it to save Tugg]].]]
* TakeOurWordForIt: ''Simple Jack'' is apparently "one of the worst movies ever made", but we only see a few scenes of it. [[{{Narm}} It]] [[{{Glurge}} does]] [[StylisticSuck look]] [[TastesLikeDiabetes pretty bad though]]...
-->'''Kirk:''' Well, to give the man credit, he has eased up on the retard a bit.
* TakeThat: is intended to mock and deride all of Creator/BenStiller's friends who, unlike him, did UsefulNotes/VietnamWar movies back in TheEighties when they were all the rage and told him that the pre-production boot camp where they learned how to be plausible soldiers was a deeply spiritual experience.
* TomHanksSyndrome: [[invoked]]
** Portnoy is attempting to do this because he is sick of people laughing at him.
** Speedman tried the same thing with ''Simple Jack'', which turned out to be a disaster.
* TookALevelInBadass:
** After much idiocy, tears, sadness, and patheticness, all of the cast does this.
** Hats off to the much-beleagured OnlySaneMan Kevin Sandusky in particular, though. He [[spoiler: devises the plan to rescue Speedman, takes charge whilst Speedman, Lazarus, and Portnoy have their breakdowns, leads the escape from the heroin processing plant, survives being hit by an RPG whilst driving away in a truck.]]
* TroubledProduction: A massive InUniverse example. The movie proper starts off with the crew of Tropic Thunder wasting $4 millions dollars worth of explosives after the [[PoorCommunicationKills explosives man mistakes Cockburn's ranting as the signal to set them off]]. As a whole, the film parodies the problems that plagued ''Film/ApocalypseNow''.
* TrouserSpace: with [[FanDisservice Jack Black's pistol]], implied to have been up his ass. Played with, as it takes him until the end of the gunfight he's standing in the midst of to actually retrieve it.
* TrueArtIsAngsty: In-universe: Jeff, Alpa, and especially Tugg are each doing this film to get artistic credibility. And everybody's doing it for loads and loads of [[OscarBait awards]].
* UncleTomfoolery: Lazarus.
* UnfortunateImplications: In-Universe: Lazarus acting as a black man irritates the Hell out of actually black Alpa Chino, who must deal with his antics of stereotypical blackness. [[invoked]]
-->'''Alpa:''' YOU'RE AUSTRALIAN! BE AUSTRALIAN! 'SCUSE ME, [[Film/KangarooJack KANGAROO JACK]]! ''[[[HypocriticalHumor stereotypically hops off like a kangaroo]]]''
* UnnecessaryCombatRoll: Parodied by having the actors play it completely straight. Tugg even flamboyantly [[FiringOneHanded fires away one handed with his ''assault rifle'']] while coming out of the roll, after Cockburn gets it.
* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory: As stated above, it is basically a comedic, fictional portrayal of the making of Film/ApocalypseNow, which had one of the most [[TroubledProduction disastrous productions in all of film history]]. See its page for more.
* VulgarHumor: Jeff's usual fare. At a premiere, he tries to deliver a TakeThatCritics with regards to this, but drug-addled as he is, it isn't effective.
* {{Wangst}}: In-universe: Kevin points this out to the actors themselves whenever they always breakdown.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse:
** [[spoiler:The director of the movie dies. Except for the Special Effects guy and Four Leaf panicking, and Lazarus attempting to tell everyone else he's ''really'' dead, he's not mentioned again, aside from confirmation that Cody didn't blow him up at the climax. It's AllThereInTheManual. The director of the in-universe making-of doc ''does'' care... he just thinks Cockburn's demise is [[FamilyUnfriendlyDeath far too horrific to share]].]]
** Also, [[spoiler: The original ending had Pecker captured by Flaming Dragon, but test audiences didn't like it, so he just gives Tugg a thumbs up and disappears into the jungle. He's later seen, during the closing credits, flying safely away aboard his brand-new jet.]]
* WhiteDwarfStarlet: Tugg is on the verge of becoming this according to Les, who actually uses the term "white dwarf".
* WorldOfHam: Just watch the attempted takes of the [[ShowWithinTheShow movie within the movie]]; even if they hadn't blown up most of the scenery, the actors would have [[ChewingTheScenery eaten it]].
* WTHCastingAgency: [[invoked]]
** This is more in-universe for the movie within the movie. Having a blond haired blue eyed Australian playing a black man?
** Though it can wrap right back around again. Robert Downey Jr. playing a blond haired blue eyed Australian playing a black man? [[TropesAreNotBad Granted he pulled it off]] but still.
* YouKnowImBlackRight: Inverted. You know you're ''not'' black, right?
--> '''Kirk''': ''[to Tugg]'' What do you mean, ''you people''?\\
'''Alpa''': ''[to Kirk]'' What do '''you''' mean, ''you people''?\\
'''Kirk''': ''[still to Tugg]'' Huh!?
* ZanyScheme: Portnoy, [[TaughtByTelevision having seen it done in]] a Zany SexComedy he starred in, suggests a plan to infiltrate the camp using a giant catapult made from underwear. He gets stared at for five seconds before [[OnlySaneMan Kevin reaffirms a much saner plan, based on the book's own assault on a similar compound.]]