Ben Stiller stars as Josh - the hardworking manager at an uber-luxury
condo complex in Manhattan. He'll never become a millionaire, but Josh
is the best manager you could ever dream of, and he admires the
building's richest, most notable resident, Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda).
He's the kingpin of investing, and so prolific Josh convinces Arthur to
manage the staff's pension funds.
Unfortunately, Arthur is a ponzi schemer in the mold of Bernie Madoff,
and all of the money he "invested" went to covering the scam and is
lost forever (it would have been hilarious if Kevin Bacon could have
been worked in and got revenge on the Madoff-like character, but I
digress). When he is placed under house arrest in his swanky penthouse
and they start to realize the thief might have stored away many
millions, Josh and other employees bilked in the scheme decide they are
going to break in and get some justice by taking the money for
Does Arthur have millions hidden in the penthouse?
Can these honest, working class folks find a way to steal it without
getting caught or letting their consciences get the best of them?
In a world where all of us have worked for some CEO who walked away
with millions, while our friends or ourselves got laid off because of
that leader's "genius" and "amazing business acumen", Tower
Heist strikes a chord deeper
than the stack of Lindsay Lohan's legal bills. Much of that is because
of the great cast and some of the best directing I have ever seen from
Brett "I mock him mercilessly, but he delivers in Tower
gets the audience worked up and cheering for our robbers because of
Alda. I can't express in words how amazingly, chillingly evil he makes
Shaw. The way Alda combines charm, aloofness, cold calculating
selfishness and senses of entitlement and being better than everyone
else makes Shaw the perfect villain for the movie and for our times.
Without him, Tower Heist
wouldn't be as compelling or make us angry, even though we know it is
just a movie.
Stiller and Murphy aren't too bad either. Stiller has the perfect
amount of restraint and earnestness to fit perfectly as the straight
man in this comedy. He doesn't need to be goofy and overwrought, like
we sadly remember in Meet the
Fockers or Night
at the Museum, so Stiller allows
Josh to become the heart and soul of the movie. He is everyman as he
works hard at an underappreciated job trying to do the right thing
because that's what you should do.
Then, Murphy is back to being funny, without worrying about offending
your kids because your children should not be at this PG-13 rated
movie. As the theft consultant Josh brings in to help plan the heist
and train the gang in how to do it, Murphy is acting at a level
reminiscent of his Beverly
Hills Cop and Saturday
Night Live days. He brings the
energy and commitment to make the character everything you want it to
And, I still can't believe I am saying this, Ratner does his best
directing job yet in Tower Heist. It's never too silly. It's
crazy and over-the-top with the action. Most of all, you never lose
interest with a great pace and plenty of twists and turns to keep you
engrossed in the plot.
It might not be a detailed heist movie, and Tower
Heist might not be perfect
(logic is not always followed in the last act), but it is perfectly
Heist is rated PG-13 for language and sexual content.