Cast: Josh Kovaks (Ben Stiller), Slide (Eddie Murphy), Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda), Charlie (Casey Affleck), Mr. Fitzhugh (Matthew Broderick), Lester (Stephen McKinley Henderson), Mr. Simon (Judd Hirsch), Special Agent Claire Denham (Téa Leoni), Enrique Dev'Reaux (Michael Peña), Odessa (Gabourey Sidibe)
Director: Brett Ratner
Theatrical release: 11/04/2011 DVD Date: 02/21/2012
Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 104 minutes
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Review: Ben Stiller stars as Josh Kovacs, the manager of a luxury highrise in Manhattan, one of the residents of which has invested and lost all of the building's employee's pension money, in Tower Heist, a film that purports to be a crime comedy but lacks a considerable amount of both elements.
Alan Alda plays fund manager Arthur Shaw, who has been charged with criminally bilking his investors out of their money. He's put under house arrest in his penthouse apartment pending a trial. Josh, determined to right a wrong and it's not at all clear how and why Josh had the authority to invest everyone's money with Shaw in the first place but let's just go along for now comes up with a scheme to steal back the money he believes is hidden somewhere in Shaw's apartment. Because he's not a thief at heart, he enlists the aid of one, Eddie Murphy as Slide, who Josh bails out of prison. Slide, who keeps telling his "partners" to never trust a thief, decides to conduct his own theft of the apartment, setting up the inevitable confrontation with Josh.
The premise is fine here if remarkably similar to Ocean's Eleven, a much, much better film yet is very poorly paced and plays out in an exceptionally leaden manner. There are a couple of chuckles here and there, but too few and too far between. The theft itself has some interesting and creative aspects to it, but altogether lacks both credibility and the unexpected "surprise" moment that are the hallmarks of a good heist film.
Maybe what I found most disappointing were the performances. I always had the sense I was watching actors being directed, that none of them really assumed the characters they were playing. The three principals Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, and Alan Alda are just OK in their roles; all have been better elsewhere in similar roles. But the supporting cast range from the merely embarrassing Téa Leoni as the drunken FBI agent Claire Denham to the downright awful Matthew Broderick and Casey Affleck probably tie for this honor.
There's not much substance to Tower Heist and as such, it's probably harmless entertainment. Still, it's disappointing to see a largely talented group of actors being wasted in such a mediocre film.