Tower Heist (2011)

Greg Says: Enjoyable hijinks from a trusted cast of veteran comedians.

Title: Tower Heist (2011)
Date: 6 November 2011
Recommendation: Wait for the instant download
Helpful: 2 out of 6 found this helpful.

Josh Kovacs (Ben Stiller “Night at the Museum”) is the manager of a NYC high rise apartment building. He is chummy with Billionaire investor Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda “Diminished Capacity”, “M*A*S*H”). Shaw is indicted for running a Ponzi scheme. But the bad news is that Kovacs had invested all the staff’s pensions into Shaw’s holdings. Kovacs feels responsible and confronts Shaw who feels no remorse and appears to have rigged the courts to get off scott free. So, Kovacs enlists the aid of childhood chum and ne’r- do-well Slide (Eddie Murphy “48 Hours”). Slide is a thief and instructs Kovacs and his buddies in the ways of thievery. They’re all-in to rip off Shaw and get back what was stolen from them. And we’re off…

This movie is filled with fine actors in pretty straightforward comic roles. It is a veritable who’s who of 70s and 80s comic players. Stiller plays Kovacs as a smart young man trying to work his way up the corporate ladder by kissing ass, but also caring about the people in his building. He also cares about his staff. There’s Charlie the concierge (Casey Affleck) who is married to Kovac’s sister. Mr. Fitzhugh (Matthew Broderick) who plays the evicted Wall Street investor who is down on his luck. Mr. Simon, the general manager (Judd Hirsch). Odessa, the maid (Gabourey Sidibe “Precious”). And the FBI agent with a heart of gold played by Tea Leoni.

Of course this is all pulled from the front pages of the Bernie Madoff scandal, and the recent economic downturn. The evil rich guys get their cum-uppance and the poor working stiffs pull a fast one over everyone’s eyes. It’s a feel-good movie.

There are a number of weak spots. Matthew Broderick just phones in his performance. Some would call it understated – I call it lazy. I don’t even know why he did this film. Gabourey Sidibe as the “maid gone rogue” can’t hold her Jamaican accent for even one sentence. I’m a little uncomfortable with the “hire the black guy to teach the white guys to break the law” theme. We saw this earlier in the summer in “Horrible Bosses” – only then it was Jamie Foxx who was the “mentor.”

Overall I enjoyed myself for most of the movie and while the ending was no real surprise, it was satisfying. For a formulaic presentation and underplayed acting, I recommend you wait for the instant download.