TOWER HEIST Review
A phrase such as “surprisingly good” isn’t necessarily the way anyone wants a film categorized. However, Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy’s newest comedy, TOWER HEIST, was…surprisingly good.
I add the word “surprising” because their recent track record has not been very impressive. Being two well-known names in the comedy world, both have been involved in some mostly “un-funny” family comedies that unfortunately hampered their comedic chops.
Well, good news! The streak has stopped.
Tower Heist, follows an unlikely team of characters seeking revenge on the corrupt Wall Street businessman Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda). Shaw has swindled away thousands of employee pension dollars, and Josh (Ben Stiller), the building manager of the luxurious Columbus Circle condo-tower, is responsible for relinquishing the money to the Shaw.
He teams up with his brother-in-law Charlie (Casey Affleck), a former Wall Street investor Mr. Fitzhugh (Matthew Broderick), the newest bellhop Enrique (Michael Pena), and an experienced thief Slide (Eddie Murphy) to take back what is rightfully theirs after realizing the judicial system is not going to run it’s course.
They are forced to storm the castle themselves.
The all-star cast achieved what the earlier released comedy “Horrible Bosses,” couldn’t. Although “Horrible Bosses,” was an all-around decent movie that landed some pretty funny punches, “Tower Heist,” proves to be a more enjoyable flick. Although not as laugh-out-loud funny, it still creates a team that is easier to root for. When looking back, it is obvious which movie has a better cast and story.
Brett Ratner (Rush Hour, X-Men: The Last Stand) melded his two different styles to create a fast-paced and well shot film. Although the styles worked differently in his previous films, they combined well to create a soaring movie with a relatively smart script.
Like a lot of the comedies out there, it seems a bit over-the-top and inherently unrealistic. But, people wanting a profound and realistic story generally don’t choose comedies anyways. This isn’t as much a hit on the film’s credibility than a warning.
Though unrealistic, some degree of relevancy can still be found in the plot. Since it deals with something as relevant and useful as the financial crisis, it does create a story that will hit viewers a little harder than other traditional comedies. This type of story seems a little bit more engrained in today’s society than some other plot devices.
Back to Stiller and Murphy, a departure from their roles in the “family comedy” genre suits them well here. Although I don’t necessarily find their connection in the movie overwhelmingly awesome, they do present some funny back-and-forth moments. Although I found their dialogue funny, be warned that this is a full departure from family comedy, meaning there is plenty of promiscuous humor that relies on sex and race. Unfortunately, I think they tried a little too hard in this area, but it doesn’t take away from the movie significantly.
In the end, I was left with a movie that outshined the dull moments. I was left with characters that seemed believable in a premise that seems unbelievable upfront. I am forced to tip my hat to the crew who were able to pull off the movie, despite some reservations I had beforehand.
A lack of Gaylord Focker and Shrek’s loyal companion Donkey may discourage some from seeing the film, but the Stiller and Murphy I know and love exist outside of this realm. Those characters are fine, but I tend to enjoy Josh and Slide a bit more. It all boils down to sense of humor.
Still, family humor or not, Tower Heist will create a story that will engage the audience through and through. From the beginning, audiences will identify with the relevancy, cinematography, and stellar cast to keep them thoroughly entertained. And, that’s all you can really ask from a comedy, right?
Surprised or not, see this movie if you have the opportunity.
Jordan Magrath is movie reviewer based out of Seattle, WA and can be found on Twitter at @jmacle