Tower Heist

Tower Heist (as I’m sure you all know by now) is the story of a group of hotel employees who, after being defrauded by one of their hotel’s residents, decide to even the score by breaking into his apartment and robbing him. It features Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck, Michael Peña and others in a sort of “Robin Hood and his Merry Men” for the Bernie Madoff era.

I just wish it had been funnier.

I don’t really have a lot of problems with this movie – mind you, I don’t really have a lot of enthusiasm for it either – but my overwhelming thought during the entire movie was… they weren’t even trying that hard to be funny.

The movie takes an inordinate amount of time to set up. It sets up the villain Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda) as a crooked multi billionaire investor, it sets up Stiller, Affleck, Peña, Gabourey Sidibe (the Maid) as the hotel staff, and Matthew Broderick as a tenant about to be evicted. Then they spend a small amount of time on the news of the crime breaking, and the fact that the employees lost everything. Then it spends some time on Shaw’s house arrest… and by the time you know it… half of the movie is over already before the heist is even conceived of.

Which isn’t to say necessarily it’s wasted time. The set up was pretty well done, it just wasnt funny. It wasn’t really even trying to be.

What happened though, is I expected it to be this comedic explosion once the robbery went down. You know, kind of like a slow burn movie where it’s all build up build up build up and then BANG!! Edddie Murphy hadn’t been in it much yet, “The Maid” hadn’t been in it much yet, they definitely had me buying into the premise enough to suspend my disbelief over the ludicrous heist execution details… but then when the heist did “go down”… just… not that much happened. I expected some serious mad cap craziness payoff, but… not so much. There were some laughs here and there, but overall, the crowd I watched it with was mainly quiet.

It’s not that great a “heist” to be a good heist movie.

It doesn’t have any good action sequences to consider it a good action comedy.

And the jokes a) were sparse and b) weren’t that funny, so it wasn’t a great comedy.

What are you left with?

It’s not a bad movie, don’t get me wrong, it was ok… but I did leave disappointed. They had a very solid high concept, and a great cast. If they had pushed the script harder, they could have come up with a funny action/comedy/heist movie, and that’s a rare blend indeed.

What they got was a movie… well, I’m tempted to say it tried to hard to do too many things, but actually, I don’t think it tried that hard at all.


14 thoughts on “Tower Heist

  1. Ah, the old problem of “not enough of an X to be a good X”. I have to say I’d wondered if this movie might suffer from that, as it sometimes seems like the more names you put in a comedy, the more diluted the comedy winds up (It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World being a prominent exception, of course.) It’s too bad; I’m not a big Ben Stiller fan, but I do think he has some potential as a straight man to the right comedic actor, and a refocused Eddie Murphy could theoretically be the right guy.

    • Agreed.

      I just dont think this was it. Murphy had his moments, he was ok. It’s just too much of the movie was played straight up and not for laughs. And then when they did make with the funny, it seemed like too little too late.

  2. I’m surprised by all the positive reactions to this movie because the trailer did absolutely nothing for me. I didn’t find any of the jokes there funny so I was expecting this flick to be utterly lame. Guess not though, I will give it a rental when it comes out on DVD.

  3. It’s goofy, funny, and a little bit weird at times but that’s why I liked it and this ensemble really made it all work out better than I imagined. Still, I can’t believe Brett Ratner actually directed this. Good review my main man Dan.

  4. You confirmed my suspicions on this one. It looks to be exactly what it advertises in the trailer, but not as funny. I will see it at some point…but most likely on dvd.

    A very well written review Dan! Nice work.

    btw, glad you are back up and runnin.

    • Thanks man. It sucked to be down for the count.

      On Tower Heist, it’s not all that BAD, it’s just not all that GOOD either. The trailer pretty much shows 50% of the gags in the movie…

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