Jeff Giles: So…is Brett Ratner going to make Eddie Murphy funny again? Let us discuss.
David Medsker: I saw this in front of Cowboys and Aliens (which is all sorts of boring), and I have to admit I’m looking forward to this one, Ratner be damned.
Jack Feerick: I’m afraid that nothing short of a working time machine, the blood of a hundred virgins, and a Harry Potter-style mass amnesia spell will be anough to make Eddie Murphy funny again.
Jeff: I would have said the same thing yesterday, but I caught myself laughing at this trailer more than once. I mean, it sucks that Eddie has to play another freshly sprung ex-con to make it happen, but hey…
Jack: Oh, I think the trailer is amusing. But Murphy is the least amusing thing about it. He’s phoning it in, again, right down to his little trademark chuckle. Gabourey Sidibey is wiping the floor with him.
And admittedly, it’s hard to judge to overall affect of the thing from the triler — but there’s a pretty politically-progressive argument buried in that premise, no? About accountability, and regulation, and redistribution of income. The Alda character is obviously a stand-in for Bernie Madoff, but he can just as easily be read as a cipher for those Wall Street dinks who drove hundreds of thousands of people into insolvency with mismanagement and bogus financial instruments, accepted a taxpayer-funded bailout, and still managed to pay themselves big bonuses.
When any media suggestion that our nation’s super-rich are anything other than holy and virtuous engines of benevolence is derided as “class warfare,” it will be interesting to see how TOWER HEIST plays among the pinhead Right.
(Remember, kids, it’s only class warfare when the poor complain about the rich; when the rich complain about the poor, it’s called “law and order.”)
Jeff: You make an interesting point, particularly given how long this thing kicked around Hollywood. I’m pretty sure the script predates Madoff, although it’s probably been through so many revisions that nobody can tell what’s left from which incarnation anymore.
Brett Ratner, champion of the working class!
Robert Cashill: Somehow I think this is more Funny or Die than Politico; I think The Family Man is the closest Ratner has come to outlining a manifesto on class in our society.
Nice to hear Murphy jabbering again; usually when he talks at regular speed, mouthing dialogue that he can’t riff from, the movie’s in trouble. (This one has eight IMDb-credited writers, none of whom may recognize any of their lines.)
Kelly Stitzel: Where’s the panic room?
Jeff: Kristen Stewart is in there, and WE WILL NOT LET HER OUT.
Kelly: The whole time I was watching that trailer, I kept thinking, “which one’s the Dwight Yoakam character?”
Jeff: All I know is that I haven’t paid to watch an Eddie Murphy movie since the screening of Metro that I walked out of in 1997, but I might just drive to a theater for this. And I can’t believe I just said that.