Movie Review: “Tower Heist”

Published by Clay Cane on Friday, November 4, 2011 at 12:00 am.

(Photo: Universal Pictures)

Summary: Disgruntled employees at a luxury apartment complex in Manhattan (a mock version of the Trump Tower) are seeking revenge on Arthur Shaw, their boss and a corrupt Wall Street businessman, who lost their pensions in poor investments. With the help of a ‘hood criminal, various employees plan to steal 20 million dollars that they believe is stored in Shaw’s penthouse.

Review: Directed by Brett Ratner, Tower Heist stars Ben Stiller and includes a diverse cast, including Gabourey Sidibe and newcomer Michael Peña. Surprisingly smart, especially in the days of Occupy Wall Street, cutesy funny and one of the better comedies this year, the Universal Pictures film might be a hit.  Fortunately, there are few novices in Tower Heist: Ben Stiller, Matthew Broderick and the great Eddie Murphy all appear in the film.  The all-star cast smoothed out a layered, unpredictable and sometimes ridiculously implausible comedy that is right on time in this disastrous economy.

That said, the good news is that edgy comedy icon Eddie Murphy has returned to the big screen in the role of “Slide,” a loud-mouthed criminal. It is easy to forget how raw the New York native used to be and, judging by the box office numbers, audiences have grown tired of “Disney Eddie.”  We missed the cussing, hollering and one-liners that made Eddie a star, from the days of Trading Places, 48 Hours and Beverly Hills Cop.  Although a supporting cast member, Murphy is the one you want to watch in this movie.

In addition, there is Gabourey Sidibe, who is shutting down everyone who said she wouldn’t work after her Oscar-nominated role in Precious. Sure, there might be some who will whine about her playing a maid named Odessa in Tower Heist — she licks cake off her face and plays up the “sassy big girl.”  Nonetheless, she is funny and holds her own with comedic heavyweights — even, and despite, an unnecessary and sometimes distracting Jamaican accent.

For everyone who has been duped by Wall Street or hit hard by the economy, Tower Heist delivers the fantasy that you can get your revenge. Yes, the flick is deeply silly at times, and not anything fresh plot-wise, but it is a fun, no-brainer ride.

Tower Heist is in theaters today.

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