Saturday, May 18, 2024

Eddie Murphy Gets a Comedy “Comeback” in “Tower Heist”


Brett Ratner‘s “Tower Heist” is getting an old fashioned mega push from Universal Pictures, a studio desperate for a hit after a slow year. Will “Tower Heist” be a Universal and universal hit? I think so, judging from last night’s star studded four star no expense forgotten premiere at the Ziegfeld followed by a lavish party at the Museum of Modern Art. Eddie Murphy makes a killer comedy comeback in “Tower Heist,” and Matthew Broderick kind of steals a film that also stars — with lots of presence–Ben Stiller, Casey Affleck, Tea Leoni, Nina Arianda, Alan Alda, Marcia Jean Kurtz, and Judd Hirsch.

And I mean, you know it’s a big deal when both Edward Norton and former flame Courtney Love are in the room. Also present, and loving the whole thing, Sarah Jessica Parker (Mrs. Broderick) with son James, and Stiller’s wife, Christine Taylor, as well as his sister Amy. I spotted Tracy Morgan, the Olsen twins, and screenwriter James Toback.

Universal studio execs and top agents were also in plenitude. Producer Brian Grazer was in deep conversation with ABC News chief Ben Sherwood. (His talented wife, Karen Kehela, is a producer on the film.) New York rock legend Garland Jeffreys kept getting praise from everyone for his new album, “The King of Inbetween.” Gabby Sidibe, who has a hilarious role in the film as a Haitian housekeeper, proved she’s not just “Precious.”

My favorite quote of the night came from Donald Trump. “Tower Heist” uses his Trump International Hotel in Columbus Circle as its locale, but Trump decided not to put his name in the film. “There’s a heist!” he said. Such a thing would never happen on his watch. Alan Alda, playing a Bernie Madoff like tycoon, has a pool on the roof of the movie version of the building, called just The Tower. The movie pool has a gigantic $20 bill painting on its floor, too. “They gave me ideas,” Trump told me with a laugh.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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