It’s not the sort of movie you write a detailed review of. It’s just not.
It’s funny, though. It’s howlingly, screamingly funny; it’s about as offensive as it can be without being mean spirited, and it works way, way better than you would expect.
Sure, Ben Stiller is still playing the same character he plays in every movie; shallow, vapid, self-involed, self-important, and stupid. But y’know, it keeps working. Yes, Jack Black is still playing Jack Black (he, though, can play other people, he just usually doesn’t).
And yes, they say ‘retard’ about fifty million times.
Here’s the thing though, with a movie like this. They know completely how offensive they’re being. But the joke isn’t at the expense of whomever they’re poking fun at. The joke is on a character (in this case Stiller’s character), but more importantly, it’s on us, the audience. They’re waving it in our faces (fat jokes, gay jokes, ‘retard’ jokes, race jokes), and they’re saying, you’re laughing at it aren’t you? Shame on you.
The plot? Stupid. The characters? Stupid. The humor? Maybe not as low brow as it’s possible to get, but close. But Robert Downey Jr is absolutely brilliantly funny as a method actor who’s gone so far he’s surgically changed races for a part. And Tom Cruise – who I loath – is hysterical and profoundly creepy as a lunatic studio exec **cough**justplayinghimself**cough**.
This is a movie where you hurt from laughing, and feel a vague sense that you should be offended, but aren’t.
Get there on time, the movie opens with one of the funniest fake trailers you’ve ever seen (no, not the ‘fatties’ one!). And get the fuck over the ‘retard’ jokes.