Tower Heist: Entertaining Action-Comedy
Alan AldaBen Stiller...
Action & AdventureComedy
Josh Kovacs (Stiller) works as a manager in The Tower, a really swanky
block of flats. The very wealthy residents are completely dependent on the all-encompassing service they receive from Kovacs and his team of doormen,
housekeepers and receptionists, who know everything about the tenants’
personal lives. Shaw (Alda) is a filthy rich financier living in the building’s
penthouse. He is arrested for swindling hundreds of millions of dollars
and has now lost all of his assets to the bank. The staff’s pensions had been,
at Kovacs’ suggestion, turned over to Shaw for investment, which means they all
lost their money with his scam (think Bernie Madoff).
Completely overwhelmed by guilt, Kovacs storms up to Shaw’s penthouse,
where he’s under house arrest, and proceeds to completely blow his fuse when he
finds Shaw unapologetically snooty and indifferent, thus getting himself fired.
Determined to get the staff’s money back, Kovacs bands together with some of
the staff and a convicted burglar named Slide (Murphy). Together, they hatch a
plan to steal Shaw’s safety net, a tidy twenty million dollars hidden in his
house that neither the police nor the bank has been able to find.
Tower Heist is
a recession-era Ocean’s Eleven populated
by service staff instead of glamorous master criminals. It flips the switch on
the real-life dynamic and creates a world where the downtrodden can take the
law into their own hands and get their rights themselves. In addition, the film
is super slick, very well-shot and hits the right tone. It manages to combine
the awesome action sequences with the socially conscious message while steering
clear of preaching or forced sentimentality.
Alda’s Shaw represents the corrupt 1% who don’t give two hoots about the
people serving him. Overflowing with classist superiority, he completely
nails the way snooty rich folks talk to those they deem beneath them, from the
condescending finger wagging right down to the shell-shocked, disgusted
expression when his staff are anything other than docile and obedient.
The film’s comedy comes mainly from the situations that the gang members find
themselves in while planning and performing the heist. The relationship between
Stiller’s revenge-driven Kovacs and Murphy’s high-strung, opportunistic Slide
is particularly entertaining; especially when Slide teaches Kovacs the various
skills needed in a robbery. With his hilarious facial expressions and body
language, Murphy is, without a doubt, the funniest thing about the film. It’s too
bad that he doesn’t have a bigger part. Also pretty hilarious is Sidibe’s
Odessa, a Jamaican housekeeper in need of an American husband to extend her
Tower Heist boils
down a highly relevant and thorny social issue into a very simplistic hour-and-a-half. Despite the heist being rather nonsensical and completely out of the realm
of the possible, the film makes total sense in a could-only-happen-in-Hollywood
kind of way. In other words, if you don’t focus on the details too much; it’s a
feel-good, entertaining film that goes perfectly with popcorn.