Director: Brett Ratner
Writers: Ted Griffin and Jeff Nathanson
Stars: Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Alan Alda, Casey Affleck, Matthew Broderick, Michael Pena, Gabourey Sidebe, Tea Leoni
First things first, it’s great to see the 80s Eddie Murphy back.
Tower Heist is basically a two part film: before Eddie and after. The first part is the setup of all the major characters and their basic story as well as the setup for the plot. The richest man in the Tower, Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda), has been arrested for embezzling his clients’ money. And one of those clients is the pension plan for the Building employees. After the Building Manager, Josh Kovacs (Ben Stiller), learns that their pension is the low man on the totem pole and not likely to be repaid, he jumps into action creating a motley crew to help him steal back the money. His team includes his Brother-in-Law, Charlie (Casey Affleck); new-hire elevator door-man Enrique Dev’Reux (Michael Pena); evicted tenant, Mr. Fitzhugh (Mathrew Broderick); maid (Gabourey Sidebe), and neighborhood small time crook, Slide (Eddie Murphy). The second part is the training of the crew by Slide and the actual heist.
Eddie Murphy makes this movie followed closely by a scene stealing Gabourey Sidebe and great Alan Alda. The remaining cast is competant, but not too particularly energetic. The movie deflates when Eddie, Gabourey, and Alan are not there. When the other cast members are on screen, the film feels more like a dramedy than an action-comedy–which is what I think most people are looking for. The heist itself is too over-the-top. It starts off well enough, but then quickly devolves into the land of the prepostorous.
The movie looks good, and the visuals are impressive. But it lacks soul. It feels like a paint by numbers script. The only time you truly wonder what’s going to happen next is when Murphy is on screen. Brett Ratner is competent, but his movies always seem to be missing something.
Overall this is a rental or a great Saturday afternoon movie on TV.
Grade = B-