Review: Ratner's 'Tower Heist' Is Cool, Witty, Sweet & Goofy
November 3rd, 2011 2:00pm EDT
Although starring Ben Stiller, the idea behind TOWER HEIST originated within Eddie Murphy a while back. How far back? I can’t really tell as ALL my sources and research pulls up is how it was set to be an all Black cast with much of the common urbanized swag most, if not all, Black cast comedies usually carry. As we move along the years, lots was changed, Eddie Murphy remained true to the project, and now we have what’s to be an interesting watch over the weekend which not only includes the genius of Eddie Murphy (About time!), but a whole host of Hollywood meat who lend their presence to ensure one of the most enjoyable comedies this year.
With a director whom I’m not too fond of (Brett Ratner), I really didn’t expect TOWER HEIST to be any more of a stomach virus than that X-MEN film he directed or those overrated RUSH HOUR films which everyone seems to be suckling on, and quite frankly Chris Tucker’s FAST & FURIOUS a-la Vin Diesel. To be honest, I’m going on record and saying I think I rather an over-the-top and brainless action film from Michael Bay or mish-mash of a brain maze courtesy of M. Knight Shyamalan.
But, I have to say Ratner did a pretty good job with this one. I can’t lay ALL of the kudos on him, but one can tell he did what he had to do to supervise a pretty well-crafted script and allow the art of dialog, interaction, improv and layered story-telling do the job.
TOWER HEIST follows Queens native Josh Kovacs (Stiller) has managed one of the most luxurious and well-secured residences in New York City for more than a decade. Under his watchful eye, nothing goes past him. In the most flashy unit atop Josh's building, Wall Street titan Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda) is under house arrest after being caught stealing two billion from his investors. The hardest hit among those he defrauded? The tower staffers whose pensions he was entrusted to manage.
With only days before Arthur gets away with the perfect crime, Josh's crew turns to petty crook Slide (Murphy) to plan the nearly impossible to steal what they are sure is hidden in Arthur's guarded condo. Though amateurs, these rookie thieves know the building better than anyone. Turns out they’ve been casing the place for years, they just didn't know it.
I can sit here and strip the film down to its core step-by-step, but that wouldn’t do you any good seeing as the idea is to go watch it, rather than read about it. However, what I can say is that much to the film’s presentation pertains to contemporary times of Wall Street blood-suckers and those who go for their own form of “Vigilante justification.” In some ways what most within the “Occupy Wall Street” protest would LOVE to do, but due to law, they remain strapped.
Setting aside the usual lovable in Stiller and Murphy, the supporting cast in Broderick, Leoni, Peña, Sidibe, Affleck and Alda happen to be the film’s backbone. Much to their credit, all their characters and witty existences are served cleverly and allow much of the film to play its way out in the most enjoyable and comedic way ever.
Layered on top of all the vengeful fury, the actual heist is smart and original. The action is a breeze of cool air and funny, and made more interesting than a usual film hero we might be use to, just average Joes who really want to make sure all goes well.
There’s lots of magic to this film and one of those magical moments is having been shot in my home town of NYC. There’s nothing more authentic than actually viewing streets I’ve seen and stomped on time and time again.
One thing I know for sure is Stiller’s proven his bankablity throughout the years…now…I can bet my life all of Hollywood will be watching to see if Murphy still has it in him. What do you think?
TOWER HEIST is a pretty cool, witty, sweet and somewhat goofy comedy to watch with the whole family and the most amazing thing of all aside form all I’ve mentioned is the fact that a personal friend of mine (Christina Calph) happens to be IN the film as well. Christina, if you’ve read this…Good Job!
GRADE: B / GENRE: Action/Adventure, Comedy, Crime/Gangster, Drama / RATED: PG-13 / RUN TIME: 1 Hr. 40 Min.
STARRING: Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Casey Affleck, Alan Alda, Matthew Broderick, Tea Leoni, Michael Peña, Gabourey Sidibe
DIRECTOR: Brett Ratner
Related: Alan Alda, Ben Stiller, Brett Ratner, Casey Affleck, Eddie Murphy, Gabourey Sidibe, Matthew Broderick, Michael Pena, Tea Leoni, Tower Heist, Starpulse Exclusives, Movie Reviews, Movie Spotlight
© 2011 Starpulse.com
Photo Credits: UNIVERSAL PICTURES