In Tower Heist, the latest action-comedy from Brett Ratner, Ben Stiller plays the dedicated chief of staff at an extremely fancy Manhattan apartment building (think Hector Elizando in Pretty Woman, or Michael J. Fox in For Love of Money) known as the Tower. This being a Brett Ratner movie, that this name immediately calls to mind the Twin Towers is both entirely intentional and totally meaningless. Instead, Ratner's focused on another story ripped from the headlines. Alan Alda plays Arthur Shaw, the building's richest resident and a Bernie Madoff stand-in, a slick thief and liar who has defrauded thousands, including the building's staff, by wiping out their pension fund. Stiller, bent on revenge, concocts a scheme to relieve Shaw of the $20 million he must be hiding; assembles a team that includes Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck, Téa Leoni, and a Caribbean-accented Gabourey Sidibe; and then goes to find the one guy who can actually help him pull it off: Eddie Murphy. Chris Tucker became famous in Ratner's Rush Hour for more or less imitating Murphy. In this trailer, it appears Murphy is now imitating Tucker — imitating him all amped-up, antic energy all the time. (Back in 48 Hours and Beverly Hills Cop, there were some quieter beats in Murphy's repertoire.) Stiller and Murphy are only four years apart in age — their periods of fame just peaked at totally different times — and theirs is a comedic pairing that just might work, so long as Stiller is playing the tightly wound straight man. But if there's ever a scene in which Stiller unwinds, which is pretty much a staple of all Ben Stiller films, there will be so much angry scenery chewing between the two of them one fears entire movie theaters may be digested.
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