QuickFlick: Tower Heist
I don’t know why, but it seems all of the comedy films I’ve seen lately are lacking in the comedy department. Though I had hoped Brett Ratner’s newest movie Tower Heist would change all of that, it has unfortunately not done quite enough.
Starring Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy, Tower Heist follows the employees of an expensive apartment building in New York City who are played for chumps by their richest tenet, Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda.) Shaw “loses” all of their pensions as part of a fraud scandal. Feeling responsible and betrayed, building manager Josh Kovacs (Stiller) puts together a team under the tutelage of professional yet petty criminal, Slide (Murphy,) to steal Shaw’s safety net of $20 million.
This is a plot I can get behind, but the first act felt slow and unfunny, due primarily to having so many characters introduced and relying too much on jokes more embarrassing than entertaining. Both flaws, thankfully, improve through the rest of Tower Heist, especially when the selected team members are preparing for and performing the heist. There were some moments in which characters would become involved in the heist without any plot cohesion. Logic was also an issue at times, but I managed to disregard it for the most part.
Though the acting was ok, I felt Slide and Enrique (Michael Peña) were the only characters who were consistently funny on their own merits. This was due mostly to the way their lines were delivered; with Slide being overly aggressive and Enrique being too eager. Shaw was a decently unlikable villain, and Kovacs was a good and honorable protagonist, despite suffering from the over-the-top breakdown moment that’s in most of Stiller’s movies. To be fair, I will admit that this scene wasn’t too bad. Most of the other characters such as Fitzhugh (Matthew Broderick) and Odessa (Gabourey Sidibe) start out a little bland and annoying, but they managed to grow on me, slightly, by the end of the film.
Production values for Tower Heist were actually pretty good. Several of the stunts they used, while a little ridiculous, didn’t seem fake and in fact were fairly creative. A few times, I saw the obvious green screen, but thankfully these instances were very few and far between.
Tower Heist may be worth a watch for those looking for a chuckle with friends, but I wouldn’t suggest they rush out to the theaters to see it.