America is currently faced with #Occupy Everywhere. The rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer. “Tower Heist” is a movie hitting the box office with precision timing. It’s basically the one percenters vs. the ninety-nine percenters. Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda) is a billionaire Hedge Fund Manager who lives in the Penthouse high above The Tower. Josh Kovacs (Ben Stiller) manages the residence like a hotel. He’s all about customer service. He and his staff are at their beckon call 24/7.
About a decade before, Josh asked Mr. Shaw for a favor, a business favor. Representing Tower employees, Josh asked Shaw to invest their life savings. As you’ve seen in the trailer, Shaw gets arrested & all the money is gone. Infuriated, frustrated & cheated, Josh decides to take his team’s money back the swindler. This sets the story into motion.
An unlikely team of bandits is assembled. They are, a down and out Wall Street investment broker, Mr. Fitzhugh (Matthew Broderick) a concierge with a very short attention span, Charlie (Ben Affleck) a bellhop with visions of grandieur, Enrique Dev’Reaux, (Michael Pena) who’s nicknamed The Puerto Rican-Mohican, a Jamaican maid with attitude & hormones (Gabourey Sidibe) & a small time street hustler, Slide (Eddie Murphy.)
Together, they’re after $20 million. The build up was very good. You could see things clicking & working. I also liked Special Agent Claire Denham (Tea Leoni.) She played a likable agent who sympathized with the fraud victims & clicked with Ben Stiller’s character. It was good to see Eddie Murphy returning to familiar territory. After all, he’s played a few of my all time favorite characters like Billy Ray Valentine: Capricorn in “Trading Places,” Reggie Hammond, “48 Hours” & of course, Axel Foley in “Beverly Hills Cop.”
I’m sure Eddie’s early worked inspired director Brett Ratner. It was vintage 80’s Eddie & that was good to see back on the big screen. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. Everything with Tower Heist was working until the Tower Heist itself. On another note, last year, I was diggin’ “Iron Man 2″ until the lame sequence when Jon Favreau was driving through the Monaco Grand Prix– in the wrong direction!
POSSIBLE SPOILER, BUT WHEN THE HECK, IT’S IN THE TRAILER. The movie derails into the very same lameness when the caper resorts to driving a speeding truck through the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade– in the wrong direction! It turns into a slapstick vibe when marching band trombone players are jumping out of the way. It’s pretty bad.
In closing, the first two-thirds of Tower Heist are enjoyable. In my humble opinion, the heist could have been more clever, more daring & most of all more believable. It’s OK if you’re in the mood, but certainly won’t be remembered as a great heist film. If that’s what you’re into, rent the original or remake of “The Thomas Crown Affair.” It’s the very definition of a clever heist movie.
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