Tower Heist

18 Mar

Director: Brett Ratner

Writers: Ted Griffin (screenplay), Jeff Nathanson (screenplay), and 3 more credits

Stars: Eddie Murphy, Ben Stiller and Casey Affleck

Motion Picture Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 104 minutes

 

 

There are some dodgy old names associated with this latest Ben Stiller comedy. The director is Brett, Rush Hour 1, 2 & 3, Ratner and the other star is Eddie Murphy, an actor with a long cinematic criminal record. Having them make up a large part of the ‘talent’ on this film made me sceptical from the outset – that and the fact that Ben Stiller is hardly a reliable source of comedy gold.

The story of Tower Heist is a modern and topical take on the little guy standing up to the wealthy and bullying mogul. Stiller is the manager of an impressive residential tower block that is owned by the penthouse dwelling Alan Alda. Alda comes across as a bit Donald Trump and a bit Bernie Madoff and it is the latter resemblance that is crucial. The story turns on the unravelling of a ponzi scheme that Alda’s character has trapped Stiller and other tower employees in.

Once Stiller and his colleagues realize the chicanery of Alda they join forces and decide to rob him. That’s the cue for Murphy to enter the fray as the consultant thief and for Stiller’s misfit gang to embark on some good fun heist training. Here the movie works very well with a strong supporting cast that includes Casey Affleck, Matthew Broderick and Tea Leoni. Once the robbery is underway, however, the comedy is stretched a little thin.

If the great Frank Capra was alive today it is likely that he would be offered this type of ‘blue collar hero’ film to direct. He would certainly do more with it than Ratner, but Tower Heist is decent enough and not the dog that I had anticipated going in.

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