Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick and Alan Alda lead a cast of seasoned comedians and not-so-seasoned comic actors seeking revenge.
Normally anything associated with Stiller or Murphy — critically speaking — is the kiss of death. Stiller and Murphy are one-dimensional — albeit talented — actors whose stock characters have worn thin.
Tower Heist uses Murphy sparingly and makes Stiller the fulcrum. He centers rather than generates the comedy. It works.
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Alda is Arthur Shaw, a Wall Street investor living at the top of a building that houses condos for the upperclass. Stiller’s Josh manages the place and turned the staff’s retirement program over to Shaw. The investor is later arrested for an elaborate Ponzi scheme.
Like all crooks, the sneaky Shaw may have a stash. Or so thinks the FBI. The agent doing the bust — done nicely by an underused Tea Leoni — tells Josh that Ponzi schemers usually keep emergency cash hidden for themselves. Knowing that, and that he’s been had and the people he loves are seriously harmed, Josh gets a group of misfits together to break into Shaw’s condo to get the cash.
Getting into the crook’s tower is complicated. Once there, it becomes comically complicated.
Tower Heist is not rocket science. It is 'TV movie of the week' funny. All that’s missing is a laugh track.
If can ignore the gaping holes in the plot and some unbelievable concepts, then Tower Heist isn’t bad. You won’t laugh out loud, or even that much, but at least you’ll laugh.
Mr. Movie rating: 3 1/2 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes. It opens Friday, Nov. 4 at Regal’s Columbia Center 8, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and the Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.