Movie: Tower Heist(2011)
If you go to this film’s imdb page and look at the “People who liked this also liked…” list, you’ll see such gems as Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Big Momma’s House and Cop Out, but also, for some reason, real comedic gems like Naked Gun 33 1/3 and Rush Hour (well, at least the first one was kinda funny), and also, for some reason Luc Besson’s Taxi movies, which I personally think is a crime. So, where does Tower Heist land on this spectrum of comedic law enforcement shenanigans? Not anywhere, really, because Tower Heist‘s only brush with such shenanigans is a drunken FBI agent (played by Téa Leoni) who’s clearly having a mid-life crisis.
The film stars Ben Stiller as Josh Kovacs, the manager of an exclusive apartment building, The Tower, where lodgers pay as much for the service as for the real-estate. The penthouse owner, Mr. Shaw (Alan Alda) is arrested for fraud, and is placed under house arrest. He’s also managed to lose all the employees of The Tower their pensions. Stiller, along with a small band of disgruntled employees and a small time crook (Eddie Murphy) decide to crack open Mr. Shaw’s safe in the hope that he’s stashed all the cash there.
There seems to be no moment of real introspection for Kovacs before he decides to throw away his future on the most thinly motivated heist ever thought up by a gang of scriptwriters. The rest of the group members come along with such quick gusto, you can’t help but wonder if The Tower was filled with sociopaths. Eddie Murphy plays… Eddie Murphy, I assume. The only time I’ve laughed at his “in your face I’m Eddie Murphy”-voice since the 90s is when he plays a donkey. That’s harsh, perhaps, but the novelty wears off, and we quickly sport the same dead-eyed look Ben Stiller chose to wear for the entire movie.
There are moments of genuine laughter, though it’s one of those movies you aren’t entirely sure you’re laughing at or with. Their “plan” to infiltrate the best security system in the world is suppose to be laughably funny because of its childishness, but at the same time you can’t help but sigh at the movie with an exasperated “oh, come on!” I think it’s the lack of actual comedy during the heist that confused me – for it plays out almost like a real heist, but clearly they would have been arrested before they even got in the door had it been that. It’s only when they start cracking the safe open that you realize the entire joke was that they got this far with barely a hiccup.
I also wish Matthew Broderick would stop playing annoying characters. He did this bit long ago in The Producers and that was funny, but now it looks like Mr. Bloom has gone bankrupt and has turned to real crime… really badly thought out crime.
Dice roll: 2