Eddie Murphy was once a huge draw at the box-office, but after more than a decade's worth of bad decisions the actor is more known for being the punchline of a joke than the guy who delivers it. Despite this, the comedian keeps getting work -- meaning someone out there apparently thinks his performances in critically-drubbed films like 'The Adventures of Pluto Nash,' 'Holy Man' and 'Daddy Day Care' were good. Now comes news that Murphy is set to join Ben Stiller and Alan Alda in Universal's new caper film, 'Tower Heist.' Could this be the project to get the comic's career back on track?

According to Deadline Murphy will be part of the film, which originally began life as 'Trump Heist' and was intended to be an African-American take on the 'Ocean's Eleven' franchise. The racial element has since been adjusted (presumably so Stiller can be involved), but Murphy is still involved.

Brett Ratner will direct, with his 'Rush Hour' cohort Jeff Nathanson penning a new draft of Ted Griffin's script. The story deals with operations and maintenance workers in a fancy Manhattan apartment building who saw their pensions stolen by a Bernie Madoff-like criminal who's living the good life while on house arrest in the penthouse apartment of their building. Led by Stiller's character, the building employees use their knowledge of high-rise's inner workings to pull off an elaborate heist to recoup some of their lost funds. Hilarity surely ensues.

Working as part of an ensemble cast with a box-office draw like Stiller may be just the thing Murphy needs to get audiences interested in his work again. The comic won't be asked to carry 'Tower Heist' on his own and can presumably focus more on stealing scenes than being the focal point of them. Murphy is still certainly capable of doing good work, as his performance in'Dreamgirls' demonstrated, but let's all hope that if 'Tower Heist' takes off, the actor chooses something better than 'Norbit' as his follow-up.
Tower Heist
PG-13 2011
Based on 39 critics

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categories Movies, Cinematical