Movie Review: Tower Heist

Movie Review: Tower Heist

Tower Heist


PG-13 for language and sexual content.
Genre: Comedy, action, adventure, crime
Running Time: 1 hour 44 minutes

The workers at a posh Central Park condominium plot to steal back their pensions from a thieving Wall Street billionaire whos’ about to get away with the ultimate white-collar crime. Financial giant Arthur Shaw has just been placed under house arrest in his luxury New York City penthouse for cleaning out his investors to the tune of two billion dollars.

Meanwhile, on the opposite end of the financial spectrum, Josh Kovacs earns a modest living as the manager of the building where Shaw lives. When he learns that the tower staffers who entrusted Shaw with their retirement funds are about to lose their life earnings and the thief will probably get off scot-free, Josh recruits a crafty swindler named Slide to help get their money back.

An Unlikely Group of Thieves

The security is tight in Arthur Shaw’s condo. But between Josh’s knowledge of the building and Slide’s slight of hand, an unlikely group of thieves come up with a plan to get their money back. 

The cast for Tower Heist includes the likes of Alan Alda, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, Judd Hirsch and Casey Affleck. But, it all falls a little flat as the headliner for this movie is Ben Stiller who plays the character of Josh Kovaks. In my opinion the only movie Stiller has ever really been strong in was Night At The Museum. As a leading role in that movie he did indeed pull it off. However, for the most part, Stiller is best when playing some kind of a supporting character role. He’s too predictable, too flat, too routine and too straight-faced to really pull off a leading role. Such is the case for Tower Heist. If it weren’t for the likes of Eddie Murphy and others in this movie it would possibly be a total loss.

Eddie Murphy is his usual flamboyant jump off the screen self. The interaction between him and Stiller’s character are humorous. But, it also seemed like Stiller was left speechless at times as he was simply over-shadowed by the comedic brilliance of Murphy’s character Slide in Tower Heist. There are times in this movie when the camera pans to Stiller’s face during their interactions and he has the proverbial “deer in the headlight” look. He just seems lost.

Judd Hirsch is brilliant but unfortunately his character of Mr. Simon does not get enough screen time. It’s nice to see Alan Alda back on the big screen again and Matthew Broderick is his usual self too. His Mr. Fitzhugh character is funny and even though Broderick is again one of those one dimension actors, he plays this character well. At times there are hints of Mr. Gadget and the hints of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is simply hilarious! I will not include any spoilers here but suffice it to say if you’re a fan of Broderick like I am and a fan of that now cult-classic Ferris Bueller you will see the connection as well.

Mildly Humorous – Could Have Been Better

While the trailers for Tower Heist make this movie look like it will be a “roll on the floor laughing” type movie, many of the really funny parts are in the trailer. That’s not to say this movie falls into the category of “if you’ve seen the trailer you’ve seen the movie”. The opposite is actually the case. The trailer accomplishes exactly what it’s suppose to do – Tease you into seeing the movie. But, as a result of the disjointed and flat performance of Ben Stiller, Tower Heist does not live up to its full potential in the belly laugh category. This could have been a very funny movie as it does contain a number of good lines and jokes. However, with the stilted performance of Stiller, what could have put this movie over the top on the laughter scale rolls it back to the “mildly humorous” genre.

It’s not all bad, but Tower Heist could have been a lot funnier.

As for rating, we have to say Tower Heist is cautionary family-friendly. Eddie Murphy has done worse, but it’s really his character that moves this movie into the cautionary area. While Ben Stiller takes away the laughs, Eddie Murphy adds the crase. It’s the raunchy humor from Murphy’s character that firmly places this movie into the cautionary family-friendly category.

Enjoy the show!

Dr. Rus

About the Author

Dr. Rus has 30+ years experience in the field of communication. He takes this experience, and his passion to encourage others to positively effect their environment, when providing insight and movie reviews.