Homefront movie
7.25 out of 10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie
8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
8.25 out of 10

Friday, November 4, 2011

Tower Heist

A Heist Gone Wrong

Director: Brett Ratner
Writers: Ted Griffin, Jeff Nathanson, Adam Cooper, Bill Collage
Cast: Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Casey Affleck, Alan Alda, Matthew Broderick, Judd Hirsch, Téa Leoni, Michael Peña, Gabourey Sidibe

 After a wealthy business man of a New York luxury high-rise apartment is caught embezzling money in a Ponzi scheme, the residents and employees of the apartment building, realizing their retirement investment is gone, draw up a plan to steal a secret stash from his penthouse home.

REVIEW: Brett Ratner, director of the Rush Hour films and The Family Man, jumps behind the camera to helm the new Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy heist film. Written by the collective group of storytellers Ted Griffin (Matchstick Men), Jeff Nathanson (The Terminal), and Adam Cooper and Bill Collage (Accepted), Tower Heist looks like it could rise to new heights as a funny buddy cop...er, buddy criminal comedy.

Josh Kovacs (Ben Stiller - Night At The Museum) is the general manager of the Tower, an up-scale luxury high rise apartment building in Manhattan, New York, tasked with handling the staff, the operations of the building, and the comforts and whims of the tenants. One of the most powerful, influential, and wealthy residents living in the penthouse, Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda - M*A*S*H), is accused of a Ponzi scheme affecting thousands of clients and their money, as well as the retirement savings of the Tower's staff. Shaw is placed under house arrest in his penthouse apartment by a team of FBI agents led by Special Agent Claire Denham (Téa Leoni - The Family Man). Josh, feeling responsible for asking Shaw to invest the staff's money, goes up to the penthouse to confront the financier. When things get out of hand during his visit, Josh and some of the other staff are summarily fired by their boss, Mr. Simon (Judd Hirsch - Taxi). Looking to make thing right with everyone on staff who lost their retirement and life savings, Josh enlists the help of fired soon-to-be-father concierge Charlie (Casey Affleck - Ocean's Eleven), divorced ex-Wall Street trader soon-to-be-evicted Mr. Fitzhugh (Matthew Broderick - The Producers), and newly hired, newly fired elevator operator Enrique Dev'Reaux (Michael Peña - The Shooter). Realizing that he is going to need more than coworkers and former tenants, Josh bails out an actual thief, Slide (Eddie Murphy - Shrek), from jail to add some expertise and training to the men in his crew and to the his plans. Rounding out the crew is maid Odessa (Gabourey Sidibe - Precious) with a perchance for lock-picking.

Part Rush Hour and part Ocean's Eleven, Tower Heist is true to its namesake. Shaw stands accused, nestled into the cushy confines of his house-arrest penthouse and the rumor of $20 million stashed in Shaw's apartment leads Josh and his amateur crew of criminals to take on a plan that none of them are trained or capable of pulling off. Stiller plays the Meet the Parents straight man, but without the manic ticks and jitters. Eddie Murphy comes along as the elder version of Trading Places Billy Ray Valentine, with less laughs and more swearing. Broderick is defeated, 
Peña is clueless, Affleck looks like he strolled out of Ocean's Eleven, Alda plays it so cool his guilt is truly unknown, and Leoni, in spite of her pert nose and shining eyes, adds a tough exterior to go along with her federal badge.

In Tower Heist, the journey should be a fun, crazy ride, with the best parts are shown in the trailers. With high hopes for more funny hijinks, disappointment abounds with lackluster laughs and a watered down Ocean's Eleven-style heist plan. Stiller is too serious, and Murphy is too hardened and brazen. There are some funny parts, and a decent twist at the end, but the end result is a film that falls short on laughs and intrigue. Once the credits start scrolling, you may feel like there was a heist... on your wallet.

WORTH: Rental

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