Anthony's Film Review
Tower Heist (2011)
As a thriller comedy, Tower Heist manages to move along and engage the audience...
Tower Heist would be a typical heist movie if it weren't for its timeliness. The movie was released during a time when the economy of the United States was thrown into turmoil because of greed on Wall Street. It was also a time when financier Bernard Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison for a massive Ponzi scheme, defrauding many people out of billions of dollars. The anger that resulted from such events was palpable, enough for perhaps a few people to plan a heist of the rich in a Robin Hood effort to bring fairness to the unfortunate. I don't know if I would want to see such a robbery actually occur, but if it was in a fictional Hollywood movie, I wouldn't mind seeing it at all.
Ben Stiller leads the cast of Tower Heist as an apartment building manager named Josh Kovacs. He is a personable guy, getting to know all of his staff and his tenants. The various characters include Matthew Broderick as a somewhat soft-spoken and cowardly tenant named Mr. Fitzhugh, Casey Affleck as a staff member named Charlie whose wife is expecting a baby, Stephen Henderson as a security guard named Lester, Gabourey Sidibe as a Jamaican maid named Odessa, Michael Peņa as a new staff member named Enrique, and Alan Alda as the wealthy financier named Arthur Shaw. When Shaw is arrested for securities fraud and Lester attempts suicide because he had entrusted his life savings to Shaw, two other characters come into the mix: Tea Leoni as FBI agent Claire Denham and Eddie Murphy as a thief named Slide.
I must admit one thing about this movie. Many of the jokes, especially those in the first half, are corny and amateurish. I didn't laugh too much. In fact, I wasn't sure if I would like it by the time the movie ended. But I can say that the movie picks up. The characters have weird but lively personalities, especially Eddie Murphy as a guy with a loud motor mouth. In fact, the first scene where I truly laughed was when Kovacs, Fitzhugh, and Enrique have to prove to Slide that they are capable for the planned tower heist by shoplifting at a mall. What Slide does in their absence is pretty funny.
Once the heist begins, things get exciting. Without giving away the details, I found myself engaged in the story because there are several elements of the scheme that are in play and must be carefully coordinated. The fact that all of this is taking place inside one building also makes it worthwhile, as there are challenges involving security staff and tight spaces. On top of this, there are a few good plot twists and some suspense to keep us watching. Once it was over, I found myself nodding with approval. This movie wasn't all that bad, I said to myself.
Tower Heist was directed by Brett Ratner, who had also directed the Rush Hour movies starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. Like those movies, Tower Heist is a popcorn movie that provides a mixture of action, humor, and fun without expecting the audience to think about anything. What do you expect from a cast that includes Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, and Matthew Broderick? A serious drama? Nope. Just smiles and carefree enjoyment. Thanks to the cast, script, and direction, I had a good time with Tower Heist. The movie may not stand very tall compared to other similar types of comedies, but it stands nonetheless.
For more information about Tower Heist, visit the Internet Movie Database.