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They were the so-called slackers who didn't feel compelled to grow up. Now, with middle age a sobering reality, are their years of underachieving beginning to hit home?
Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr and Jack Black star as three has-beens who think they're filming a Vietnam war epic in the jungle, unaware that the people who keep shooting at them aren't actors playing the Viet Cong, they're genuine trigger-happy guerrillas.
Tropic Thunder, Ben Stiller's Vietnam-film-within-a-film, has a lot of gags to get through in its two-hour running time – the self-regard of actors; the greed and ruthlessness of Hollywood producers; a raft of 'Nam movie clichés – and yet it still seems at least 20 minutes too long, with all the best jokes used up in the first act (including a terrific trio of spoof trailers).
Anyone who has ever chuckled at the scene in Ben Stiller's fashion-world spoof Zoolander in which a designer unveils a clothing collection inspired by "the vagrants that make this wonderful city" will no doubt be aware of the industry's occasional ability to transform the most inappropriate subject matter into a sartorial statement. In the case of this season's "luxe grunge" trend, designers have fortunately stopped short of channelling actual vagrants and opted for the nearest acceptable alternative, the proponents of the early 90s grunge scene.
America in the 1970s wasn't ready for George Carlin: his meditation on the morality of swearing led to arrest, prosecution – and even a Supreme Court judgment. Andy McSmith pays tribute
The deadpan funnyman now earns more than Tom Cruise. But it won't go to his head, he tells Gill Pringle