Tower Heist – 3/5 Movie Reviews by Ry!

Tower Heist – 3/5 – Brett Ratner; he is a director that gets a lot of ill will from the movie goers.  This may be because of how terrible of a job he did for X-men: The Last Stand, or the fact that he makes typical action comedy films.  Even for these faults, he does have some fun films (Rush Hour, Rush Hour 2 and The Family Man).  In typical fashion, this another action comedy films from Mr. Ratner.  For the most part, it entertains.  Tower Heist is an average film that stars some big names (Eddie Murphy, Ben Stiller), but falls flat in the end because of predictable elements, plot holes and dull comedic moments.

Josh Kovaks (Ben Stiller) is a manager of a high class residential building in New York City.  He is close to all the tenants, including Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda).  One Day, Shaw is arrested by the FBI because of fraud.  Josh thinks it is a misunderstanding, until he learns that the employees’ pension (which he asked Shaw to handle) is gone.  This causes Josh’s views of Shaw change.  He goes to see Shaw, but loses his temper and his job in the meeting. The FBI agent in charge of Shaw tells him that he might walk, along with the pension funds being irretrievable.  She also tells him that there are rumors that Shaw has 20 million hidden somewhere.  Josh thinks he knows where it is.  Along with two other employees, an evicted tenant and a local thief, they set out to get into Shaw’s penthouse to steal the money.  This movie is littered with many big names.  The two big names that are the main focus are Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller.  Ben Stiller plays the main character, Josh Kovaks.  In this role, he pretty much portrays his familiar comedic roles.  He is both strong in what kind of character he has, as well as bringing across the comedic timing needed for an action comedy.   He provides good laughs, as well as some depth to his character.  You see he feels at fault for the lost pensions, and feels this need to fulfill his oath in protecting the tenants.   The ultimate choice comes up, and you see that Stiller can be serious when it is needed.  Eddie Murphy plays the thief for hire, Slide.  He is great in the role, and the strongest part of the film.  He plays a typical angry gangster style character, but adds his own kind of touch.  His mannerisms and comedic timing brings funny and hysterical moments, and you just want to see him all the time on screen.  He does come across like some kind of double agent, but (with predictable elements) he turns to the right side at the right time and helps out the crew in the end.  Some of the other names you’ll see here are Casey Affleck, Michael Pena, Matthew Broderick and Alan Alda.  With their roles, they help move the plot along its path, and keeps the themes and action/comedic elements on a steady tone.  Other than this, there isn’t any really strong character development in them.  For an action comedy, any depth to side characters isn’t needed, so it doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of the film.  What takes away from the enjoyment is at times, these side characters aren’t strong in comedic timing or comedy period like Stiller or Murphy.  This gives the film some boring moments, and makes you prick and pull what will happen to the characters.

The direction of the film is pretty up and down.  You have a film that is the definition of a typical action comedy.  The slight twist is that it has the added theme of being a heist movie.  You see that this film is mimicking a lot from the Ocean series, and you can point to a lot of characters having slight representation of those movies.  While it mimics a lot of heist elements, this isn’t where the movie falls on its feet.  When a movie has typical elements of a specific genre, you can predict what will happen next, and how it will end.  This guess is based off plot devices, thematic elements and character actions throughout each of the first acts.  With it having a light hearted tone, you know that it will end happily.  There are some humanistic choices made at the end, but it still ends the way you guessed. Having obvious plot points and devices invoking what the ending is, it does bring a sour taste for the audience.  With it faltering, the themes become shadows by these faults and you just don’t care what you should feel from the movie.  With these three affecting the outcome, all reliance is on the comedy, where there are ups and downs as well.  For every good Murphy moment, there are an equal amount of bad moments.  Another thing that the predictability does is bring a very strong light on the plot holes.   This also hurts the film because the lack of realism conflicts with reality of the movie, and it brings out confusion, which also brings down the movie.

Overall, this movie is just average.  It is a fun, action comedy, but is littered with many predictable plot points and generic acting.  Eddie Murphy is the strongest point of the movie, and Ben Stiller does an admirable job as Josh Kovaks.  Some of the moments dealing with the heist are also funny, but everything else falls flat behind the inevitability of the film’s nature.  With many plot holes and some semblance of entertainment, I’d recommend for a rental for a night time with the family.

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