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Universal has put out a trailer for its long-in-development action-comedy Tower Heist, starring Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Gabourey Sidibe, Casey Affleck, Michael Pena, Matthew Broderick and Tea Leoni. Brett Ratner directed.
The set-up of a super-rich guy defrauding his blue-collar employees, who then look for elaborate revenge, is deliciously timely. And the last bit in the trailer had me laughing. But this is the latest film to posit that a bunch of white people looking to hurt other white people must turn to a black man to teach them how to be criminals (see Jamie Foxx‘s role as a “murder consultant” in Horrible Bosses.)
It’s not just the discomfort of seeing a stereotype so blatantly reinforced for comedic effect, or the fact that using Murphy in this kind of role is totally exhausted (and exhausting). It’s also that it’s totally unnecessary and may have even benefitted from a different racial make-up. Why not give Murphy the Alan Alda role, or one of the employees, and make the criminal a rich white guy embezzler who was convicted of the same crime and now gets to use his skills for the “little guys” and gain a little redemption?
The film comes out November 4. Check it out:
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