“Tower Heist” is a terrible movie. The story revolves around a “heist” that makes no sense. Practically every detail of the heist sequence is ridiculous. Only an idiot would find it remotely believable.
Somehow 67% of critics gave this hot mess a positive review, while this time the public gets it right with a score of 48%, which is still way too high.
The cast is talented and does a solid job with the silly script, so they can’t be blamed for this disaster. That leaves director Brett Ratner and screenwriters Ted Griffin and Jeff Nathanson. They can fight over who’s most at fault.
The film follows a group of employees at a luxurious New York City apartment building called “The Tower,” who seek revenge on a wealthy businessman, Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda), for swindling them out of their pensions. The story may have been inspired, at least in part, by the events surrounding Bernie Madoff‘s Ponzi scheme.
Josh Kovacs (Ben Stiller) is the building manager of The Tower, and he, along with other employees, invest their pensions in a fund managed by Arthur Shaw. They’re furious and devastated when they find out that Shaw has been arrested for securities fraud and their pension funds are gone. In one of the many ridiculous plot points, Shaw is placed under house arrest in his penthouse in The Tower, flaunting his wealth and making them feel humiliated.
Determined to get their money back, Kovacs hatches a plan to steal $20 million that Shaw has hidden in his penthouse. He recruits a group of his fellow employees, including his brother-in-law, Charlie (Casey Affleck), concierge Enrique (Michael Peña), doorman Lester (Stephen McKinley Henderson) and maid Odessa (Gabourey Sidibe). Matthew Broderick plays Mr. Fitzhugh, a bankrupt former Wall Street investor also recruited by Kovacs. They also enlist the help of a petty criminal named Slide (Eddie Murphy) to teach them the ropes of stealing.
Murphy and other cast members have some funny moments, and Téa Leoni looks as beautiful as ever while handling her role as an FBI agent with ease. Alda does a fine job making the audience hate the Shaw character.
Halfway through the film it seemed like a mediocre comedy, but then it goes completely off the rails with the heist. These sequences are insulting to the audience.
I came across this film on Netflix thinking that a light comedy might be fun. Sadly, I’ll never get that time back.