Brett Ratner. Just one glimpse at his name on the big screen ensures audiences that they’re about to experience a fairly dumb, formulaic flick with tons of loud explosions and racial stereotypes. The trailer for his latest film, the action-comedy Tower Heist, seems to hit all of the quintessential Ratner beats, but with such a solid ensemble cast behind it, it might just be entertaining enough to be acceptable. Emphasis on the "might."
Using our current economic times as its backdrop, Tower Heist is workers in a luxury high-rise who lose all of their pensions and savings due to a Bernie Madoff-esque ponzi scheme pulled off by a Wall Street crook (played by Alan Alda). With Alda’s character being held under house arrest, surrounded by some tight security, the workers attempt to set things right by finding a way into the tower and stealing back their cash.
Granted, that synopsis doesn’t sound mind-blowing, but there's a wealth of talent involved. Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Tea Leoni, Matthew Broderick, and Casey Affleck have all come together to try and create a satirical comedy based on events that seem to be ripped right out of The New York Times. Yet, the trailer suggests that this will be less about stinging social commentary and more about Ratner filming pages out of his clichéd joke book. It’s a shame, too, because it seems like Murphy’s return to his nasty, foul mouthed roots may be completely wasted here.
Ratner has assembled such a strong cast and has such a timely issue to poke fun at that it's admittedly a disappointment to hear a bunch jokes rehashed from the director's Rush Hour films. We’ll see if the likes of Murphy and Stiller can overcome Ratner when Tower Heist opens on November 4th.