Movie Review: Tower Heist

By Stephen Rebello

Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy star in this surprisingly comical buddy movie.

Director: Brett Ratner MPAA Rating: PG-13 Studio: Universal

Nowhere near as terrible as rumored to be, Tower Heist puts its strong cast and timely premise to work and delivers an enjoyable light hearted adventure flick enjoyable for any audience. Set in upscale New York, the smug and seemingly appropriate one percenter Alan Alda is put under house arrest in his Central Park West penthouse after being accused of syphoning his investors out of billions, and cheating his entire staff, out of their pensions.

Out for vengeance, Ben Stiller, the Robin Hood-style concierge of Alda’s high-rise tower condo building, patches together a scraggly team of criminals, goofballs and the disenfranchised co-workers (Casey Affleck, Gabourey Sidebe, Michael Pena, Matthew Broderick, Eddie Murphy) to heist the stolen money out of the millionaires’ seemingly invulnerable penthouse during the Thanksgiving Day parade.

The only thing that irked me about this film was that the heist itself is more of a tension free throw away as opposed to the centerpiece of the film as one would expect from any respectful caper flick. Ultimately, it really doesn’t matter. In a Brett Ratner-directed movie that lurches from one joke to another, the only thing this film is desperate for is to make you want to smile and have a good time.

Photographed by the wonderful Dante Spinotti (L.A. Confidential), the movie offers Stiller in good form and it’s a kick to see Murphy rouse himself out of his stupor and switch on that old mouthy, expletive-spewing Beverly Hills Cop magic. Other cast members like Alda and Tea Leoni beautifully liven up the one-liner filled screenplay which is credited to Ted Griffin and Jeff Nathanson. At 104 minutes Tower Heist offers laughs all right, but reminds the viewers that in an economy being held hostage by politicians on the take and being wrecked by Wall Street and banks alike, it’s the criminals who are laughing loudest of all. The movie doesn’t want to bite the hand that feeds, it just wants to make nice.


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