Starring Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy
and Tea Leoni
Directed by Brent Ratner
104 min., PG-13
An all-star cast scales some hilarious heights in this timely yarn about a group of working-class heroes hung out to dry by a financial swindler.
As such, “Tower Heist” is certainly well timed, as America is roiling with unease about Wall Street gluttony, corporate greed and the ever-deepening chasm between the have-it-alls and the have-nots.
In such a climate of anxiety and uncertainty, it feels good to let go and laugh---especially at the antics of this inexperienced gang of “heisters” who hatch a scheme to steal back what was stolen from them.
Ben Stiller, Casey Affleck, Matthew Broderick and Michael Peña play characters who’ve all been victimized by Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda), a smug billionaire broker who lives atop a swanky New York luxury condominium hotel, swims in a heated rooftop pool that looks like a big, watery $100 bill and fawns over his prize possession, a red Ferrari that once belonged to actor Steve McQueen.
When an FBI takedown reveals Shaw’s financial misdeeds, including fleecing the entire hotel staff of their pensions, a group of disgruntled employees decides to “storm the castle” and get it back. The hotel’s former manager (Stiller) recruits a streetwise childhood acquaintance, played by Eddie Murphy, to tutor the novice criminals.
As one character describes them, they’re Robin Hood and his Merry Doormen.
Téa Leone is an FBI agent who knows a rat when she smells one, and Gabrourey Sidibe (nominated for an Oscar for her starring role in “Precious”) plays a Jamaican hotel maid with a handy knack for safecracking.
Director Brent Ratner capably handles traffic control of all the funny actors, zinger lines and hysterical situations in which the characters find themselves, including the removal of the McQueen Ferrari against a backdrop, many stories below, of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The scenes in which the characters plan the caper are a harvest of hilarious, quick-fire one-liners, especially when Murphy’s motor mouth is cranking. It’s good to have him back in a grown-up, Shrek-free movie that lets him roll with the off-color, riff-tastic patter that’s always been at the core of his comedic DNA.
“Tower Heist” frequently recalls many other high-wire heist films, and it leaves several loopholes in its logic as its caper unfolds. (How DID that car end up in... Oh, never mind.) It’s no masterpiece, and it’s not trying to be.
It is, however, a score-one-for-the-little-guys triumph that finds a funny bone inside the modern-day muscle spasms of the financial agonies that have spread from Wall Street onto Main Street. Its lighthearted touch is a welcome balm for the wounds of a real world where economic downturns don’t always come with such an uplifting, smiles-all-around ending.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
South Texas Living Archives
A creepy Halloween party appetizer (October 19, 2016)
Applying for Social Security (October 19, 2016)
Chili Cook-off to benefit Wilson County youth (October 19, 2016)
DRT joins Heritage Music Festival (October 19, 2016)
DRT to meet Oct. 24 in Kerrville (October 19, 2016)
Enjoy Harvest Festival in Marion (October 19, 2016)
Enter Pecan Bake Show (October 19, 2016)
Little Golden Books (October 19, 2016)
Make plans for Halloween fun and fall fests (October 19, 2016)
Meeting the needs of the community: St. Vincent de Paul (October 19, 2016)
R&B legend opens Carver season Oct. 29 (October 19, 2016)
Readers share their spooky tales, part two (October 19, 2016)
Road Runners plan Oct. 22 group run (October 19, 2016)
See country legends Oct. 22 (October 19, 2016)
Try your hand at square dancing (October 19, 2016)
Turn yard waste into gardener’s gold (October 19, 2016)
Baptist church to ring in 100 years (October 12, 2016)
Church plans Junk and Treasure Sale (October 12, 2016)
Comal Country Music Show is Oct. 18 (October 12, 2016)
Davy Crockett (October 12, 2016)
Enjoy fried chicken in Poth Oct. 23 (October 12, 2016)
Enjoy this flashy winter resident (October 12, 2016)
Join in the 2016 Rosary Crusade (October 12, 2016)
National Charity League plans celebration (October 12, 2016)
New program increases student knowledge of E-cigarette dangers (October 12, 2016)
Play bunco in La Vernia Oct. 22 (October 12, 2016)
Pondering a poignant letter from the past (October 12, 2016)
Save the date for Oct. 22 March for Life (October 12, 2016)
Should you redeem old savings bonds? (October 12, 2016)
Show Barn Cook-off approaching (October 12, 2016)
Sutherland Springs Old Town Day (October 12, 2016)
The business of aging grows more complex (October 12, 2016)
Try your luck at China Grove Lions Club Casino Night (October 12, 2016)
Atascosa County Craft Show seeks vendors (October 5, 2016)
Beautify your landscape with cacti (October 5, 2016)
Experience Oktoberfest in San Antonio (October 5, 2016)
Gilded peanuts and golden memories — recalling past Floresville Peanut Festivals (October 5, 2016)
Japan Fest set for Oct. 16 (October 5, 2016)
Meal service delivery options for seniors who don’t cook (October 5, 2016)
Oktoberfest comes to Floresville Oct. 15 (October 5, 2016)
Past Pirate champions will never be forgotten (October 5, 2016)
Readers share their ‘spooky’ tales (October 5, 2016)
Sacred Springs PowWow (October 5, 2016)
Shorter teapot (October 5, 2016)
Sinatra tribute comes to Kerrville (October 5, 2016)
Stockdale librarian updates Blue Bonnet Club members (October 5, 2016)
Sunnyside 4-H Bake Sale (October 5, 2016)
Time for turkey in Cestohowa (October 5, 2016)