Just when I was beginning to wonder where Matthew Broderick went, he shows back up with Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller to pull off a heist. Honestly, I didn’t see that coming.
But make no mistake – “Tower Heist” is way more of a heist movie than it is a comedy, despite what the trailers might lead you to believe. Although, there are definitely a few solid laughs throughout the film.
The Tower is a luxurious apartment building where only the very wealthy can afford the rent, and they certainly get their money’s worth. The staff, headed by Josh Kovacs (Stiller), are courteous and competent, attending to the tenants from the moment they enter the Tower, where they’re greeted by kindly Lester, the doorman (Stephen Henderson).
One of the most notable tenants is financial powerhouse Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda) who owns the penthouse of the Tower as well as a bright red 1953 Ferrari, once owned by Steve McQueen. However, the Tower is turned upside down when Shaw is arrested by FBI agents, lead by Claire Denham (Tea Leoni) and accused of running a Ponzi scheme, which includes the pension plans and investments of the Tower’s employees, even old Lester the doorman.
Outraged, Kovacs rounds up a group of employees, plus a crook named Slide (Murphy), and sets out to rob Shaw’s penthouse in order to steal back their money. Of course things don’t go quite according to plan, but it’s a heist movie.
“Tower Heist” is all about the ensemble, and this one is pretty good. The core team is Kovacs, Slide, Mr. Fitzhugh (Broderick), who’s jobless and has lost his family following his eviction from the Tower, Charlie the concierge (Casey Affleck), the bellhop Enrique Dev’reaux (Michael Pena), and Odessa the maid (Gabourey Sibide). This odd mix of traditionally serious actors like Affleck and Sibide and comedians creates a cool dynamic that allows the movie to switch between serious and funny at the drop of a hat.
Aside from the cast, “Tower Heist” also had an all-star production crew, including Brett Ratner, best known for the “Rush Hour” franchise. Ratner managed to create a movie that defies traditional genres, not just being a comedy or a drama, but rather a subtle blend of the two, all the while giving every actor their moment to shine.
Of course, Ratner doesn’t get all the credit. Writers Ted Griffin (Ocean’s Eleven) and Jeff Nathanson (Catch Me If You Can) created a screenplay that plays perfectly with the tone of the times, touching on the battle between Wall Street and the working guy.
While it wasn’t quite as funny as I expected, “Tower Heist” was a thoroughly enjoyable movie, offering both laughs and genuine quality drama. Definitely check this one out.