‘Tower Heist’: A clue to this year’s Oscars?


This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.

Brett Ratner came to mainstream prominence with the ‘Rush Hour’ franchise, then got under fanboys’ skin with the 2006 superhero sequel ‘X: Men: The Last Stand.’ But what kind of director is Ratner these days?

It’s a more pressing question now than it was just 24 hours ago, what with Ratner being named as one of the two men who will produce this year’s Oscars. And it’s a question to which this recently released trailer for the Ben Stiller-Eddie Murphy comedy ‘Tower Heist’ — which comes out Nov. 4, just about a month before the critics groups begin naming their favorites — might provide an answer.


The trailer begins as a kind of class yuk-fest, morphs into a seemingly serious-minded thriller and then settles into the sort of interracial buddy comedy that made Ratner famous. Despite the pedigree of the cast, there aren’t a lot of laugh-out-loud moments — Murphy just can’t get over how Stiller once was a nerdy white kid — but one does get a sense of the Ratner oeuvre while watching it, if only because parts of it so obviously recall ‘Rush Hour.’

And there’s at least some solace to take in this: No matter what goes down during this year’s award season, when the Oscars get underway there will at least be one movie that Ratner can poke fun at. Maybe.


Brett Ratner: Oscar fan who recognizes his outsider status

Rush Hour director Brett Ratner to producer the Oscars (really)

-- Steven Zeitchik