I find myself being the eternal Eddie Murphy optimist.  Shrek series aside, I’m always looking still for that glimmer of hope that he’ll return to the true greatness that he last reminded us of way back in Bowfinger.  And Beverly Hills Cop IV seems like it’s forever destined to be etherflick.  I can’t bring myself to belabor all of the misfires of the last decade.  Suffice it to say, however, I haven’t felt the need to get to a theatre to see a Murphy film in 10+ years.  Can’t say yet whether or not his newest announced film will break that trend, but it sounds like it has some potential. 

THR reports that the erstwhile Norbit has signed onto Tower Heist, opposite Ben Stiller and Alan Alda: In a story ripped from recent financial headlines, an overworked
residence manager (Stiller) of a posh highrise leads a team of the
building’s operations and maintenance workers on an intricately
choreographed heist of its penthouse tenant, a Wall Street
capitalist (Alda) who defrauded the rank-and-file staff of their
pensions.  Murphy…is playing a safe-cracking thug
who may or may not betray Stiller and his gang.
  It’s the first time that Murphy has been on equal footing with his live action co-stars since Dreamgirls, and that’s not a practice he’s made a habit of much lately.  He’s also executive producing the project, while Brian Grazer is producing.

Theories abound as to what Murphy needs to do to get his career back on track in a big way.  It wasn’t but the one film that he managed to squander the Oscar boost he received from Dreamgirls (the aforementioned Norbit).  Doubtful he’ll do a third stand-up film (shame, since Raw still kicks my ass, but he’s probably way too rusty for that sort of thing anyway).  It probably all just boils down to choosing smart projects that make use of his immense talent and is shepherded by the right guy in the big chair. 

Oh, and Brett Ratner is…directing…