Monday, November 07, 2011

Tower Heist

The question to ask after seeing this movie: Is this Eddie Murphy's last chance to redeem himself as a top Hollywood player? If you were to read Variety, Entertainment Weekly or any other Hollywood magazine you would have read that Eddie is trying to jump-start his flagging career for the second time, or is it third time? Honestly I keep losing track. The early buzz has been positive for this flick except for that little snafu with Universal trying to test Exhibitions patience with a VOD (Video On Demand) challenge. Supposedly they were going to test the market in Atlanta and Seattle through Comcast, available for 60 bucks, three weeks into the run which would make it over Thanksgiving. Theatres were not happy about this idea and declared that if Universal went through with this they would boycott the movie. Thankfully for all parties Universal blinked and everyone remains cautiously happy, but that time is coming soon where a studio may not balk and we are all going to have to have the conversation about the health of the theatre going experience. So I had a few choices this week with Harold and Kumar in 3D, In Time, Anonymous, Rum Diary and of course Tower Heist. But I wanted to see something where I could just relax and not think too much but I wanted something funny yet not gross out funny, sorry Harold & Kumar, so I kept finding myself on the Tower Heist express.
This is kind of Ocean's 11-like. Josh Kovacs (Ben Stiller) is the manager of a elite sky-rise on the Upper West Side. It pretty much feels and sounds like Trump Tower. Josh and his staff cater to the wealthy and in particular Investment Guru and billionaire Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda). When the staff discover that Shaw has lost all of their money in what boils down to a Ponzi scheme, ala Maddoff, the crew decides to take measures in their own hands and recover their money in whatever way possible, through a -buh buh buh, Tower Heist. The crew mainly consists of Josh as the ringleader, his brother-in-law Charlie (Casey Affleck), the new hire Enrique (Michael Pena), the maid and resident safe cracker Odessa (Gabourey Sidibe), a fallen on hard times stock broker who finds himself squatting in one of the apartments, Mr. Fitzhugh (Matthew Broderick) and the one criminal out of the bunch Slide (Eddie Murphy). Josh has the difficulty of breaking into a fortress while distracting the FBI (Tea Leoni), his superiors and the man himself Arthur Shaw.

It's a nice movie, honestly. It's fun and it doesn't make your brain hurt. It's kind of nice to watch Ben Stiller and Alan Alda lock heads in a battle of wits. It's got a nice pace and you won't leave disappointed. The problem is there isn't much more than that. It was nice seeing Eddie Murphy in something decent again but he wasn't all that special or standout that much. There were glimpses of the Eddie I love and remember from Beverly Hills Cop, Bowfinger, Trading Places and 48 Hours. There just weren't enough of them. He was drowned out by better scene stealers like Gabourey Sidibe, who was pretty funny as the psycho maid.  I also enjoyed the little bits from Matthew Broderick, its been a while since he's been relevant or funny.  It also felt good to see the rich ass hole get what was coming to him, it's a visceral thing but a timely one and it shouldn't be ignored. If you find yourself on the side of the Occupy Wall Street crowd then you will really feel a sense of satisfaction at the end of this film, no doubt about it. If you fancy an easy to digest comedy then this is the movie for you.
Grade: 3 Buckets

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