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Review: Tower Heist

Nov. 3, 2011by: Chris Bumbray

PLOT: When the staff of a luxury apartment building is ripped-off in a tenantís (Alan Alda) Ponzi scheme, the building manager (Ben Stiller) decides to get even by raiding the unscrupulous tenantís apartment, where heís rumored to be hiding $20 million in cash. The only hitch? Itís guarded around-the-clock by FBI agents.

REVIEW: TOWER HEIST is a film that will no doubt resonate for a lot of people. We live in financially perilous times, where not only has the economy all but collapsed, but vultures like Bernie Madoff (and in Montreal, Earl Jones) regularly clean out their victimsí life savings, leaving people that were once comfortably middle-class all but destitute.


Brett Ratnerís TOWER HEIST features a bunch of hard-working schmoes, out-thinking, out-maneuvering and getting even with a Madoff-like figure, played by a slimy Alan Alda. I know, slimy and Alan Alda doesnít really go together (who didnít grow up watching him as the loveable Hawkeye Pierce on M*A*S*H?). Well, turns out Alda can play a pretty good villain if given a chance, and his Arthur Shaw is so evil that members of the audience I saw this with were all but hissing every time he showed up on-screen.

As for the good guys, theyíre a great ensemble of likable, everyman-type guys, led by an unusually sedate Ben Stiller. Here, he plays the underdog, working-class hero, and he never dips into the stock Stiller character, meaning no mugging, no temper tantrums, or anything youíd get in the usual Stiller romp. While TOWER HEIST is still a comedy, Stiller plays the straight-man, and makes for a likable hero worth-rooting for.

The laughs in TOWER HEIST come mostly from Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick and Michael Pena. Murphyís been getting a lot of buzz coming off his turn here, and without a doubt itís the best thing heís done since DREAMGIRLS. Director Brett Ratner doesnít shackle Murphy to a family-friendly script, and allows him to cut loose with some fun improvisations and riffs, especially a funny bit where he recalls Stillerís character having seizures as a child. Playing Stillerís small-time crook neighbor, Murphy owns every scene heís in and if TOWER HEIST is a hit, this could be a big comeback vehicle for the former great.


Whenever Murphyís off-screen, the laughs mostly come from Broderick, playing a former Wall Street whiz, reduced to living in a Motel 6 after the market crash. Broderick hasnít been this likable in a while and along with Murphy, his career might really get kicked-up a notch if this one hits. Ditto Michael Pena, who was the funniest thing about the otherwise lame 30 MINUTES OR LESS, and kills as the loud-mouthed elevator operator turned heist technician in the climactic robbery.

Casey Affleck plays Stillerís hard-working brother-in-law who gets roped into the robbery, but is the only one sane enough to realize theyíre in over their heads. Ratner regular Tea Leoni makes for a likable love interest as the FBI agent trying to take down Aldaís character, who finds herself sympathetic to Stillerís plight.

Boy, itís really starting to seem like I enjoyed TOWER HEIST, isnít it? I gotta say, for the most part the film really works, and Brett Ratner deserves a lot of credit. People love to hate the guy, but this is really a big step up for him, and easily the best thing heís done since RUSH HOUR 2 (much better than people remember). Ratner manages to make TOWER HEIST work as both a heist film (probably more inspired by classics like GRAND SLAM and THE ANDERSON TAPES than the OCEANS films), and a comedy. A climactic scene which features part of the cast dangling on-top of a car hanging from the high-rise roof is really well-executed, and at 95 minutes, Ratner keeps TOWER HEIST very tight.

All in all, I really enjoyed TOWER HEIST, and even if youíre not usually a Ratner fan, you should give it a shot. Itís a fun heist flick and a great showcase for Murphy, Pena and Broderick. Check it out.

Source: JoBlo.com

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-2
5:07PM on 11/04/2011

I have no problem with ratner

I'm not an xmen fan so as a movie i found xmen 1 boring, xmen2 a lot better and 3 just fun to watch.
I'm not an xmen fan so as a movie i found xmen 1 boring, xmen2 a lot better and 3 just fun to watch.
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12:57PM on 11/04/2011

Best since Rush Hour 2?

Sorry, Rush Hour 2 was fucking awful. The jokes were SO overdone, and the movie was toooo fucking long. Sorry Ratner fails. Only good movie he directed was The Family Man, but not too much to direct with that kinda movie.
Sorry, Rush Hour 2 was fucking awful. The jokes were SO overdone, and the movie was toooo fucking long. Sorry Ratner fails. Only good movie he directed was The Family Man, but not too much to direct with that kinda movie.
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2:35AM on 11/04/2011
yea I like all of Brett's movies for the most part (except for rush hour 3 which I felt kinda fell flat). I hope this does well!
yea I like all of Brett's movies for the most part (except for rush hour 3 which I felt kinda fell flat). I hope this does well!
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9:54PM on 11/03/2011
i do love a heist flick whether funny or serious & I don't care about the rep Ratner has (fuck you fanboys get over X3)...but glad to see Murphy back to his old ways & ya can't go wrong with Ferris freaking Bueller.
i do love a heist flick whether funny or serious & I don't care about the rep Ratner has (fuck you fanboys get over X3)...but glad to see Murphy back to his old ways & ya can't go wrong with Ferris freaking Bueller.
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+3
8:24PM on 11/03/2011
Yep, that's exactly what I gave it. Here's the full review:

[link]
Yep, that's exactly what I gave it. Here's the full review:

[link]
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5:25PM on 11/03/2011

See, Brett...?!

You see Brett, when you do things that you know how to do, you CAN make some descent movies (Money Tlks, Rush Hour 1 & 2 and, now Tower Heist)... Forget family fantasy BS (Family Man) and good franchises (Hannibal Lecter, X-Men...), and keep doing what you do well...
You see Brett, when you do things that you know how to do, you CAN make some descent movies (Money Tlks, Rush Hour 1 & 2 and, now Tower Heist)... Forget family fantasy BS (Family Man) and good franchises (Hannibal Lecter, X-Men...), and keep doing what you do well...
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9:55PM on 11/03/2011
I quite enjoyed Red Dragon.
I quite enjoyed Red Dragon.
12:10PM on 11/04/2011
One of my favourites is the underrated After The Sunset.
One of my favourites is the underrated After The Sunset.
+11
4:43PM on 11/03/2011

The Review is Right

I saw this at a screening about a month ago. i was completely surprised I liked it. Not the greatest comedy ever, but pretty good regardless. Eddie steals the show in pretty much every scene he's in. The heist it self is completely ridiculous, but everything moves so fast and is so well paced that I really didn't mind. I actually hope this does well because I would love to see this Eddie Murphy again in future movies. This isn't a complete comeback for Eddie, but it's definitely a step in the
I saw this at a screening about a month ago. i was completely surprised I liked it. Not the greatest comedy ever, but pretty good regardless. Eddie steals the show in pretty much every scene he's in. The heist it self is completely ridiculous, but everything moves so fast and is so well paced that I really didn't mind. I actually hope this does well because I would love to see this Eddie Murphy again in future movies. This isn't a complete comeback for Eddie, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.
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-19
4:07PM on 11/03/2011

I don't mind Ratner at all

he's given us some pretty entertaining movies... but Tower Heist looks like complete shit. From all the trailers, tv spots and clips I haven't laughed ONCE at anything in them. Not a good sign for, you know, a comedy.
he's given us some pretty entertaining movies... but Tower Heist looks like complete shit. From all the trailers, tv spots and clips I haven't laughed ONCE at anything in them. Not a good sign for, you know, a comedy.
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+0
1:58PM on 11/03/2011
Indeed, people like to hate on Ratner, and with good reasons. The guy has a shotty track record, with his best film probably being Rush Hour. That and he created what is arguably the worst Xmen film in the entire series (worse than Wolverine), angering Xmen fans everywhere. But I am glad to see that this is a good film. I will probably see it, if just to see Eddie Murphy finally get to be Eddie Murphy again (now when was the last time any of us got to see that?(shrek doesn't count)). Guess this
Indeed, people like to hate on Ratner, and with good reasons. The guy has a shotty track record, with his best film probably being Rush Hour. That and he created what is arguably the worst Xmen film in the entire series (worse than Wolverine), angering Xmen fans everywhere. But I am glad to see that this is a good film. I will probably see it, if just to see Eddie Murphy finally get to be Eddie Murphy again (now when was the last time any of us got to see that?(shrek doesn't count)). Guess this will be my movie for the weekend.
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5:07PM on 11/03/2011
Not to Defend him, but what a lot of people forget is that Ratner came in last minute. This is after Matt Vaughn had cast and script and pretty much all else in place. You can blame Ratner for a lot but don't forget that part.
Not to Defend him, but what a lot of people forget is that Ratner came in last minute. This is after Matt Vaughn had cast and script and pretty much all else in place. You can blame Ratner for a lot but don't forget that part.
10:00PM on 11/03/2011
ya can't entirely blame Ratner for X3, it's totally on Fox who rushed it...he is no McG or Uwe Boll
ya can't entirely blame Ratner for X3, it's totally on Fox who rushed it...he is no McG or Uwe Boll