Brett Ratner has assembled quite the motley crew of thespians for his new film, Tower Heist, a recession-inspired caper flick that was at one point planned as being a “black ‘Ocean’s 11””.
Casey Affleck and Matthew Broderick are the latest additions to the cast of Tower Heist, the script for which is currently being re-written by Ratner’s Rush Hour 2 and 3 scriber, Jeff Nathanson.
Affleck is generally a solid actor and his most recent onscreen performance in the Noirish thriller, The Killer Inside Me, was his most critically-acclaimed to date. It’s good to see him get back to business as usual after the “experiment” that was his pseudo-documentary, I’m Still Here.
Likewise, Broderick hasn’t been in a studio production since he showed off his singing and dancing talents in the adaptation of Mel Brooks’ movie-turned-Broadway-musical, The Producers; however, when it comes to turning in decent comic performances, he rarely takes a day off (sorry, a Ferris Bueller joke was inevitable).
Affleck and Broderick will join the increasingly full cast of Tower Heist, which includes Eddie Murphy, Ben Stiller, Téa Leoni, Alan Alda, Michael Peña, and Gabourey Sidibe of Precious fame. Filming on the action-comedy is expected to begin this November, with a 2011 release date in mind.
Tower Heist revolves around a group of disenfranchised workers (whose ranks include Murphy and Stiller) who lost their pensions in a ponzi scheme run by a corrupt Wall Street tycoon (Alda). When it turns out that the Bernie Madoff-like character is being held under house arrest at the high-end Manhattan apartment complex that Murphy and Stiller work at, they hatch a plan to break into the old man’s place and rob him blind.
Broderick will play a Wall Street player who joins Murphy and Stiller, as he too lost all his savings because of Alda’s corrupt businessman. Affleck’s character, a friend of Stiller’s, will provide some opposition as a guy employed at the penthouse who refuses to take part in the robbery and threatens to turn his co-workers in to the authorities.
Caper/heist films are nothing new in Hollywood and some of the more recent ones have ranged from rather good (Inception) to, well, less than pleasing (Takers). Tower Heist will be much more of a true action-comedy than either of those flicks and should play well enough with moviegoers that are still a bit touchy on the subject of the recent U.S. recession and the role Wall Street played in bringing it about (for a more serious take on that subject matter see Inside Job).
Will Tower Heist actually be entertaining? The cast is quite solid, but Ratner’s previous output has been mixed at best and has included some features that really grind on a lot of moviegoers’ nerves. Nathanson penned the screenplay for Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can, so we know he is capable of crafting a caper flick that mixes humor, clever action, and personal drama – then again, he also penned Speed 2: Cruise Control, so quality is far from guaranteed.
Tower Heist will likely hit theaters in either Summer or Fall 2011.