Brett Ratner has gained a reputation over the years of directing films that don’t sit well in the stomachs of movie lovers with high standards. While I cannot argue that the majority of his films I’ve seen have the taste of a watered down glass of liquor- but I will say that if I stick with it long enough I still get a decent buzz off of it. TOWER HEIST takes a very capable cast but throws them into a stale premise with some gaping faults in logic but in the end it’s still a fun yet brainless piece of popcorn entertainment.
Josh Kovacs (Ben Stiller) is the building manager of a New York City high rise that also is the home to billionaire Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda). When Shaw is accused of a Ponzi scheme the pension of the workers in that building which Josh entrusted Shaw to invest is completely lost because of the scam. Josh tries to remain loyal to Shaw until a fellow coworker attempts suicide because he also entrusted Shaw with his life savings Josh enlists a handful of coworkers to pull off a robbery. The group plan to storm Shaw’s top floor apartment to seize $20 million dollars that Josh believes is hidden in a safe within a wall in the middle of the apartment and will use the money to pay back the employees who have lost everything.
TOWER HEIST is not high art, it’s not filled with tons of creativity and it’s not likely to be your favorite movie of all time let alone this year. What it is, is a crowd pleasing movie and aside from some very big leaps in believable action towards the end its biggest flaw is that it carries that Hollywood assembly line sheen that makes it feel a little too manufactured. However, while the film is not that unique, I still feel like there’s something charming and likable within the cast and the spirit of the film in general.
It’s good to see Eddie Murphy here as opposed to the annoying animated donkey he’s been saddled to over the past few years. His character is not on screen as long as everyone else but he gives the film most of the energy that carries it to the end. Ben Stiller is likable as well but is there as the straight man that holds the film together and doesn’t get a lot of the laughs. His sidekicks Michael Pena, Casey Affleck and Matthew Broderick are the three stooges that get most of the chuckles along with Murphy.
It might be the Hollywood glitz that holds TOWER HEIST back the most but the writing can be to blame as well. There are some decent jokes and set ups that made the film as enjoyable as I thought it was but there are some very glaring faults as well. Most of them are in the actual heist where things get pretty hard to believe, the biggest being a specific object in the heist and its weight that becomes pretty laughable which becomes a joke in and of itself. The films own flaws are all in good fun so I couldn’t hold it against it too much because in the end I wasn’t bored and I got some laughs and that’s all I can realistically ask for in a film like this.
The music theme of the film also really had an impact on how much I was enjoying the film too. Every time the music kicked in it had me tapping my feet and really made me smile every time. The theme had a very old school heist film vibes that really won me over despite any problems I may have been having.
For moviegoers looking for nothing more than an easy night out with a movie that doesn’t want to do anything more than to set the stage for dumb fun than TOWER HEIST fills that spot. The film isn’t outrageously funny or edge of your seat exciting. For what it is it succeeds at delivering some decent laughs here and there and dishes out third tier action entertainment. So even though TOWER HEIST is not the go to film for your robbery action comedy fix it is still a lot of fun and full of good intentions.