Grae Drake
Tower Heist Review

Grae's Rating:


Tolerable larceny.

We're obviously mad as hell and aren't going to take it anymore. Now, since we can't take a breath without lamenting our economy, Ben Stiller (playing Josh) has added himself to the list of guys who have robbed from the rich and stolen from the poor, Robin-Hood style. This time, his merry men are more like man-children and Eddie Murphy plays his morally bankrupt Friar Tuck. My expectations for the film were low, and I was pleasantly surprised at how competent the film was. I even chuckled. I guess a combination of adequate writing and performers I like to watch made this a reasonable way to spend two hours.

Alan Alda plays Tower resident Arthur Shaw, the investment banker who said he was "investing" the Tower employees' money, when he was actually stealing it. When he's busted by the Feds, the building’s staff are left throwing themselves in front of subway cars out of depression. "Never fear, fair citizens," says…Ben Stiller? Well, whatever, more unlikely things have happened. Josh concocts a plan to steal the money back and save the day. The only challenge is, he has to rely on Slide (Murphy), a career small-time criminal, and a few yokels that he knows from the building (Matthew Broderick, Gabourey Sidibe, Michael Pena, and Casey Affleck). Cue the trumpet noise.

I can't be nicer to this film than to use words like "competent" and "adequate." The film isn't quite funny enough or heist-y enough to stand out, although there are some good laughs. The best comedic performances in the film belong to Eddie Murphy, who thankfully is not wearing any kind of fat suit, and Tea Leoni, whose Claire Denham is so well-rounded and charming that I want to see a sequel just for her. Sprinkled on top of that is the affable Stiller and some fun moments from the supporting cast.

Since the movie wasn't distracting me with its awesomeness, I was left slack-jawed by the completely unbelievable heist, which might have had me cheering if I was able to turn off my brain a little bit more (as this movie requires). That's partially due to Eddie Murphy not having as much of a presence in that section--it was like the marine layer of comedy burned off. Although I liked the way the movie wrapped up, whatever bit of magic it had was gone. I just hope Eddie Murphy will get the hint and start doing more roles where he focuses on his strengths of old, like swearing and being mean to lame white people.


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