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The Warsaw Voice » World of Movies » November 25, 2011
Film review
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Tower Heist
November 25, 2011   
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The latest movie from Brett Ratner (X-Men: The Last Stand, Red Dragon) takes the director back to the days when he felt at home in comedy (Rush Hour trilogy). The difference is that instead of Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, Tower Heist stars Ben Stiller (Zoolander, Keeping the Faith) and Eddie Murphy (Dr. Dolittle, Beverly Hills Cop series), the latter of whom hasn’t been cast in a good role in years. Stiller does a fine job in the new movie, whereas Murphy sadly limits himself to a standard set of three or four silly faces and remains but a shadow of his former self in once-popular films such as Trading Places.

Josh Kovacs (Stiller) is the staff manager at The Tower, the most exclusive apartment tower in New York where the cheapest apartment goes for $5.5 million. The residents are, of course, the richest and most famous, but also the most demanding people around. The penthouse is occupied by Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda—M.A.S.H., Murder at 1600), No. 138 on the list of America’s richest people. A financier, Shaw soon turns out to have more in common with Bernard Madoff than David Rockefeller. Kovacs, who is sort of a friend to Shaw, with whom he plays online chess, makes an awfully costly mistake by asking Shaw to handle The Tower staff’s pension fund. When it turns out that all have been left out in the cold, some feel suicidal and others want nothing but revenge.

Where is the money Shaw stole? The question eats not only FBI investigators headed by a beautiful agent named Claire Denham (Tea Leoni—Deep Impact, Jurassic Park III), but also Kovacs and his accomplices. They are Charlie the concierge (Casey Affleck—Ocean’s Eleven trilogy, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford), the elevator man Enrique (Michael Pena—Crash, The Lincoln Lawyer) and Mr. Fitzhugh (Matthew Broderick—Godzilla, Ladyhawke), a Yale graduate who lost his job as an analyst with Merrill Lynch and was evicted from his apartment in The Tower. When they figure out the missing $20 million must be locked in a safe hidden in a wall in Shaw’s penthouse, they decide to take justice into their own hands. Their robbery consultant is Slide (Murphy), a small-time criminal Josh has known since they were in preschool. The problem is, Shaw is under house arrest; FBI agents guard his door round-the-clock and the building has the most sophisticated security systems known to man. Still, having seen hundreds of other comedies of this kind, we know better: no security system can withstand a bunch of dopes and losers and evil will be punished, especially when it bears an uncanny resemblance to figures featured in newspapers during the financial crisis.

Shaw, who sips on Chateau Petrus with his lawyer, has a painful lesson in store.

While there is nothing particularly remarkable about Tower Heist, the 100 minutes pass quickly and unless you are an awfully rich fraudster, you will leave the theater relaxed and satisfied—even if you don’t remember the plot an hour later.
Witold Żygulski
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