Tower Heist

Tower Heist

***

Reviewed by: Donald Munro

Tower Heist is an enjoyable but throwaway crime caper in which the wronged employees of Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda) attempt to reclaim their stolen pension fund. With the lead roles of Josh Kovacs and Slide played by Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy you may be expecting comedy that is a little wackier than is in this film. There is very little humour at the start of the film. Kovacs telling the staff at Shaw's luxury apartment block that their pension fund has been embezzled by their employer or a man trying to commit suicide by walking in front of a subway train haven't been put there for laughs.

The comedy and action kick off about a quarter of the way into the film. After his friend Lester (Stephen Henderson)'s suicide attempt, Kovacs hatches a plan to steel back the money that is owed to the staff. With the aid of a few of the employees and Slide, a petty thief, Kovacks tries to break into Shaw's penthouse apartment and take 20 million dollars from a concealed safe. The problem is the tower's security and the FBI who have arrested Shaw and are now guarding the apartment. The situation is further complicated by Kovacs' burgeoning relationship with Special Agent Claire Denham (Téa Leoni).

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The comedy up until the heist actually starts is fairly gentle as Murphy's crook interacts with fundamentally honest men. The robbery itself is standard fare, with everything you'd expect: things don't quite go according to plan; there are double crosses; there are fights; and there is the inevitable plot twist. Once in the penthouse the film launches into Ocean's Eleven style fun and nonsense as the thieves attempt to remove what they stole from the building.

Tower Heist hangs on its fast pacing, its glossy look and the performances of the actors. Stiller and Murphy do what they do well. Téa Leoni, Matthew Broderick and Casey Affleck among others play their characters in an engaging fashion. Alda moves effortlessly between kindly old man and callous and vindictive bastard.

Tower Heist hits the mark but it won't bear much re-watching. This movie is a classic red sports car driven safely down the middle of the road. It's glossy and its engine is loud You look up - "Cool car" - and then go back to what you were doing.

Reviewed on: 04 Nov 2011
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When a group of hard working guys find out they've fallen victim to a wealthy business man's Ponzi scheme, they conspire to rob his high-rise residence.
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