Movie Review: Tower Heist
Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy make for a hilarious duo in this action comedy about a band of misfits who pull off the heist of a lifetime.
What do you do if you're an ordinary guy who works hard for a living, but gets no respect from nobody…?
You pull a heist job. A big one.
That'll give you your manhood back.
THAT'S ONE NEUROTIC, EDGY BEN STILLER
Stiller plays Josh Kovacs, a subservient building manager of an expensive New York City apartment. When he discovers one of his tenants has swindled the staff's retirement money in fraudulent investments, he teams up with Murphy to try to get it all back.
With a band of misfits, assembled through careful planning (pretty much anyone in earshot), this group plans to steal $20 million from one of the highest security apartments in the United States.
Deliriously happy to have old Eddie back
Up until now, none of these would-be thieves have ever stolen a pack of gum, let alone $20 million. That's when we meet Slide (played by Murphy), the petty thief who knows how to get the job done. This is the Eddie Murphy we've all missed. The 48 Hours, Beverly Hills Cop, Raw Eddie Murphy -- the one who'd been swallowed by Norbit and The Nutty Professor.
But he's back, and he pairs nicely with Stiller, poaching every scene they're in together with his ghetto-talking over-the-top way of looking at life. Dutiful, polite, discrete, Stiller is his neurotic Along Came Polly meets Something About Mary self. These two make the perfect odd couple and comedy follows wherever they go.
Casey Affleck plays brother-in-law, the voice of reason and best friend throughout this harebrained scheme. We loved him in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and his Oscar nod for that role, and although Tower Heist has a lighter Oceans 11 feel, Affleck proves he's one of the best kept secrets of Hollywood. Adorable, witty and sincere, we're looking forward to seeing more of him.
A band of misfits get the job done
But the charming cast doesn't stop there. Matthew Broderick plays a financial analyst who's lost everything. We've missed him! Alan Alda is the love-to-hate uber-villain with more chess moves than Deep Blue.
Tea Leoni is an FBI agent slash love interest who likes getting drunk, playing by the rules and talking tough. She can hold her martini, barely. The on-screen chemistry between Leoni and Stiller is intriguing, if you imagine she's the truck driver and he's the housewife. But it does come with a few sweet moments and organic hilarity.
Gabourey Sidibe makes a standout comedic performance as the maid who can pick locks. Good timing. Excellent Jamaican accent. Very fun to watch.
Michael Pena rounds out the list of misfit thieves with his quirky point-of-view that brings levity to Stiller's neurosis.
Tower Heist is the ordinary guy's Ocean's 11, mixing the best of Dodgeball's "let's do this!" attitude with the street vibe of 48 Hours for one funny ensemble about taking down the man.
Bottom line: The Murphy you've missed and the Stiller you love make an excellent match in Tower Heist, a movie about getting the gold and your manhood back.
Photos courtesy Universal Pictures.