In the last few weeks, the media has made mountains out of the economically topical movies to hit movie theaters, from “Margin Call” (obviously set during Wall Street’s collapse) to “In Time” (Andrew Niccol’s more sci-fi vision of haves and have-nots, battling it out for more time to survive). With their critical examinations of the corruption of wealth and power, some are arguing that there’s never been a more socialist agenda at work in the movies.
Now here comes “Tower Heist,” sure to intensify the debate about income equality in the United States. With Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy as our Marxist leaders in revolutionary struggle, the film is sure to get the Occupy Wall Street crowd increasingly incensed, ready to launch an epic battle of class warfare! Soon, Ferraris will be dangling from Trump towers around the nation. Yeah, right.
What all the polemical reporting leading up to the release of “Tower Heist” misses, of course, is that this is a Brett Ratner heist comedy. As Nick Pinkerton writes in his Village Voice review, “‘Tower Heist doesn’t warrant too much thought.’… The Russians are out of season; Wall Street will do just as nicely.”
Likewise, Anthony Lane opines, “The notion of a theft from the thieves—from those who are lapped in lofty, screw-you wealth—is a tempting one right now, but “Tower Heist” passes the buck.”
I don’t think it’s impossible for Hollywood to mount a credible attack on the capitalist system–see “Fight Club”–but Brett Ratner is not the man for the job.