Director: Brett Ratner
Writer: Ted Griffin (screenplay & story), Jeff Nathanson (screenplay), Adam Cooper (story), Bill Collage (story)
Cast: Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Casey Affleck, Matthew Broderick, Michael Pena, Gabourey Sidibe, Tea Leoni, Alan Alda
Josh Kovacs is the general manager of the swankiest residence in all of New York City, The Tower. One day he finds out that the wealthiest resident, Arthur Shaw, has swindled him and all of his employees out of their pension money. Feeling the responsibility for the lost pension money, he recruits an ex-con and fellow employees to rob the man of his safety net savings located in his residence.
It’s been quite a long time since I’ve been excited to watch a Ben Stiller or Eddie Murphy film. The last Ben Stiller movie I enjoyed was Tropic Thunder; while the last Eddie Murphy movie I liked was Shrek 2. So when I heard about this movie—which stars both of them—I was a bit skeptical about checking it out.
After watching Tower Heist, I’m pretty glad I gave this film a chance because it turned out to be a pretty enjoyable heist film. It’s nothing groundbreaking or revolutionary compared to other heist films, but it is a fun little comedy that fits with the current times, as it’s a feel good story about getting back at a wealthy swindler. Who doesn’t like to see an evil rich guy get his comeuppance? That is what this film is all about.
Now with Tower Heist obviously being a heist film, it does break down into the typical tropes of that sub-genre — the planning stage of the heist drags a bit. It didn’t lose me completely, but it was the weakest section of the film. They do try to fill in this portion of the film with laughs, but overall most of the laughs were just chuckles, nothing laugh-out-loud worthy.
The real meat of the movie is in the actual heist itself. Though it’s addressed in the film by Casey Affleck’s character that these are just a bunch of regular guys trying to rob twenty million dollars in one of the world’s most hi-tech security residences, the way it’s executed makes it come off as plausible. (Believable is another matter.) Regardless, it’s entertaining to watch these average Joes executing their well thought out heist.
There are some pretty good performances that help carry this movie, and surprisingly for me, it was mostly Ben Stiller. Despite Eddie Murphy being his co-star as a lead, Eddie Murphy was just being Eddie Murphy—which isn’t to say he wasn’t enjoyable or funny, it’s just Ben Stiller had more depth to his character. His character, Josh Kovacs, is a character worth rooting for and Ben Stiller’s performance is what sells him. He may come off as a pushover at first, but he really is just a responsible and loyal character that decides to stand up for what’s right.
What really sold me was the relationship between Ben Stiller’s character and Stephen Henderson’s character, Lester. Stephen Henderson surprisingly had a pretty heartbreaking moment in the film, as he attempts suicide after having his entire pension disappear from investing with Arthur Shaw. With Lester being so close to retirement and losing every penny he had to Shaw, you really feel for him and understand Ben Stiller’s anger towards Shaw. You yourself want to join in getting back at Shaw for all that he’s done to hurt these people.
Arthur Shaw does get his just desserts at the end and the way Ben Stiller’s character confronts him is a great moment.
Overall, Tower Heist is an enjoyable heist film with a feel-good ending, despite feeling rushed and abbreviated. Is Tower Heist a must-see movie? I wouldn’t say so, but if you do go to watch it you wouldn’t waste your time, and you’d more than likely have a fun time.
GO Rating: 3/5