Tower Heist, perhaps the most unimaginatively titled movie of the year (and that’s no mean feat, following Bad Teacher and Horrible Bosses), is out this Friday, and whatever interest it might have rustled up with its stellar cast of character actors (including Alan Alda, Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck, Téa Leoni, Judd Hirsch, and Gabby Sidibe) and impressive screenwriters (Ocean’s 11’s Ted Griffin and Catch Me if You Can’s Jeff Nathanson) are pretty much cancelled out by two participants: director Brett Ratner, who has managed to kill every potential franchise he’s touched (with the unfortunate exception of his own Rush Hour movies), and co-star Eddie Murphy.
The fact that Murphy is playing an ex-con (like 48 HRS., remember? Back when he was funny?) in a movie not aimed at four-year-olds, and is actually bothering to do the slightest bit of publicity (in the form of a Rolling Stone interview — more on that later) seems to have folks feverishly talking “comeback” or “return to form” or whatever. This notion requires two giant leaps: 1) ignoring the Tower Heist trailer, which shows Murphy doing the same tired tough-guy schtick and exaggerated “street” patter as the execrable I Spy, and 2) overlooking the fact that he’s done exactly two good movies since 1999 (Bowfinger and Dreamgirls). We’re over Eddie Murphy, and after the jump, we’ll tell you why.
10. The Rolling Stone Interview
In spite of the fact that he hasn’t been in an even modestly successful film that didn’t have the word Shrek in its title in well over four years, Murphy has somehow managed to skillfully avoid doing any press or promotion for his terrible movies; you’d think at some point in the negotiating process, some savvy producer might point out that his pictures’ grosses indicate that they perhaps need that little push that ten minutes on Leno’s couch can provide. Whatever the reason, he’s decided to give a rare print interview to Rolling Stone. They’ve only posted highlights, but those include this doozy, on the long-rumored Beverly Hills Cop IV:
They’re not doing it. What I’m trying to do now is produce a TV show starring Axel Foley’s son, and Axel is the chief of police now in Detroit. I’d do the pilot, show up here and there. None of the movie scripts were right; it was trying to force the premise. If you have to force something, you shouldn’t be doing it. It was always a rehash of the old thing. It was always wrong.
As far as we can tell, that is not an edited quote, meaning that — in a bit of conversational whiplash that would could break a neck — Eddie Murphy proposes a “Son of Foley” television show in one breath, and warns against forcing a “rehash of the old thing” with his next. Logic is hard!