While filming on location, Vietnam war epic Tropic Thunder is derailed by star Tugg Speedman's (Ben Stiller) inability to emote. Director Damien Cockburn (Steve Coogan) attempts to liven up proceedings by dropping the principal actors into the middle of a real jungle, claiming he's going to capture their performances with guerrilla-style film-making and hidden cameras.
But the hapless group - including drug-addled comedy star Jeff Portnoy (Jack Black) and po-faced method man Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey Jr.) - are completely unaware when a series of unfortunate events leads them into the middle of a real war zone.
Taking no prisoners, Stiller's Hollywood satire mercilessly lampoons the ego-driven industry with a clutch of close-to-the-bone gags that caused a wave of controversy on the film's release. The sight of Downey Jr playing a white actor who has undergone cosmetic surgery to appear black might have led to much debate, but within the context of the film it's an incisively, well-judged stab at Hollywood pomposity.
With an outstanding cast that also includes upcoming comedy stars Danny R McBride and Jay Baruchel, plus an unrecognisable Tom Cruise cameoing as corpulent movie mogul Les Grossman, this is black comedy at its best: witty, relevant and ruthless.