Patrick McManus | Thursday, November 3, 2011
“Tower Heist,” a film that was supposed to be a funny “Ocean’s 11,” had more potential than any other recent comedy. Helmed by “Rush Hour” director Brett Ratner and featuring a star-studded cast, “Tower Heist” is the story of a group of luxury apartment building employees who lose their pensions in a Ponzi scheme orchestrated by one of the building’s residents (Alan Alda).
Their plan to steal their money back is very much a story of our times, influenced by the growing disparity and animosity between the haves and have-nots. “Tower Heist” provides the same sort of satisfaction “Inglourious Basterds” does. Hitler wasn’t killed by American commandos and the 99% aren’t breaking into penthouses and taking back what’s theirs, but it is nice to think about.
“Tower Heist” starts off slow, but there are a lot of laughs to be had throughout. Ben Stiller’s performance seems more “Night at the Museum” than “Zoolander” but it’s offset by Eddie Murphy, who is closer to “Beverly Hills Cop” than “Haunted Mansion.”
There are only a few fleeting moments in the film that showcase Murphy and Stiller operating in their classic personas, but those moments are hysterical. Matthew Broderick and Michael Peña also turn in solid performances. The sleeper comedy star is Casey Affleck, who manages to find the perfect tone to deliver the hilarity of a comedy movie and the intensity of an action flick. Gabourey Sidibe of “Precious” also stars.
It isn’t a brilliant movie, but “Tower Heist” is definitely entertaining and in the end, a timely, well-acted and silly story is all the movie-going public really needs.