Okay, I am officially worried for the Oscars. Seeing how weird Eddie Murphy is in this movie, he should have taken a moment to consider what hosting the Oscars means. Clearly, there is no joy left in his performing, and there is an odd disconnect from everyone he ‘shares’ screen time with. In fact, I would hazard a guess that many of the fellow actors weren’t even there on the same day he was since all his scenes were shot in a series of close-ups and one offs.
Okay, I am officially worried for the Oscars. Seeing how weird Eddie Murphy is in this movie, he should have taken a moment to consider what hosting the Oscars means. Clearly, there is no joy left in his performing, and there is an odd disconnect from everyone he ‘shares’ screen time with. In fact, I would hazard a guess that many of the fellow actors weren’t even there on the same day he was since all his scenes were shot in a series of close-ups and one offs. It is so bizarre that he carts out the same vocal guises and facial tics that he did in Trading Places and every one of his movies from the 80’s. It’s like he made one of those ironic deals with Satan where he will produce and act in movies the rest of his life, but he will be alone and not enjoy it; his metaphorical broken reading glasses for eternity in a library of all the great classics.
This viewing was the most tense I have ever left after seeing comedy movie. The laughs were exactly THREE but the action scenes were hair raising for a fellow with vertigo such as me. The exterior tower action is so well done (I’m assuming by the second unit), that I could have just watch that for two hours, which would probably be better than this vanilla milk dud. There was real effort to make this happen as it was pitched. “Comedic genius, New York parade, high tower action, topical message – it sells itself!!” However, there is more to a movie than a bunch of scenes. Brett Ratner has said on record that he cuts all of his movies himself and doesn’t test them in front of screening audience to tweak timing moments. That is too bad. If he had, maybe he wouldn’t have laid on the cheese music track after every so called funny moment.
Also, it is weird when a trailer is cut with better comedic timing than the actual movie. The trailer lays out the three funny lines so the rest of the real movie is either plot or action, nothing else. For those that can’t figure it out, Tower Heist is the fictitious story of a Bernie Madoff type (my favorite Alan Alda role to date). While under house arrest in his amazing penthouse suite, the entire building staff’s trying to steal their lost 401K money that they know was hidden in his suite. The film is timely, hijinx laden, and hopeful, and with an uplifting ending of justice being served the old fashioned way… with an elaborate theft plan. Luckily, the heist happens with plenty of product placement from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade paying for all the big named talent that was there on screen (probably because it fit their schedule).
Ben Stiller’s comedy strength has always been his 100% commitment to his character choices, however odd they are. Here, though, his choice was to play straight man to a non existent Eddie Murphy so he is left as the sensible guy in the room. You can count the scenes that Eddie and Ben were in the same space with a stick: One in the car, maybe the heist scene, and that is it! I think that someone could actually take footage from earlier Eddie Murphy movies and cut it into this and make him seem to enjoy the process of making movies.
There is a bunch of other talented performers that are great and make their scenes the best that they could be, and Matthew Broderick, as the face of the 99% who have taken it in the nads with this economy, looks pudgy and beaten, and really looks frightened hanging from the side of the tower. I am sure it was green screened, but I was shitting my pants right with him.
I guess this was supposed to be cathartic for those who have been screwed by the some bank/financial house but I am still pissed at my bank and I did not have any moment of triumph fist-in-the-air for the little guy. Instead I realize I got into this problem because I put all these movies on my credit card.