mostly sweet, sometimes sour

Tower Heist review: More Eddie Murphy please

Kudos to the marketing folks at Universal Pictures for creating a trailer that far outperforms the movie.

The trailer for the Tower Heist is wonderful- it is short, succinct, well-paced, and drums up excitement around the movie. Unfortunately, the movie falls far short of these standards. It’s as if somebody took the trailer and expanded it into a movie, adding plot-fillers around all the wonderful highlights that were summarised in the ad. Heck, they even screwed up the best joke in the movie- a hilarious scene that has a Jamaican woman talking suggestively about ‘using your fingers’ and capping it off with ‘are you married?’ In the trailer, this is the punch-line to a slam-dunk-of-a-joke. In the movie, it was a letdown- there was too much dialogue, and it really seemed like the two were having a serious conversation about marital life.

There were a few saving graces, however. I’ve sometimes thought that Ben Stiller’s movies (eg. Dodgeball) were too over-the-top. This one was a lot more subtle in its humour. There were also a few casting gems. Eddie Murphy displayed his comic genius in practically every scene he was in, and Gabourey Sidibe (last seen starring in “Precious”) continues to show that she has serious acting chops- even for comedy. Unfortunately the two’s screen time was very limited, and instead we get Matthew Broderick trying to make us laugh by cutting the security tag out of a Gap sweatshirt in an attempt to steal it. I don’t even remotely see how that could be funny.

After seeing the trailer, I was really looking forward to Tower Heist. Too bad the movie was this disappointing. Among the numerous plot “huh?” issues, there was a love story that went nowhere; a heist without any suspense; a comedy without many jokes; and b-listers trying to act stylish ala Ocean’s Eleven.

Too many marketing folks with their focus groups results trying to write the script: and so we get a movie that tries to please everyone, but ends up satisfying no one.

In case the movie-makers at Universal Pictures are reading this blog (they’re not), here’s a tip: all we needed was more Eddie Murphy. And maybe more Gabourey Sidibe too.

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