Good, Bad & Ugly Review: Tower Heist

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 68% (Critics) 60% (Audience)
Directed By: Brett Ratner
Written By: Ted Griffin, Jeff Nathanson, Adam Cooper, Bill Collage
Starring: Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Alan Alda, Casey Affleck, MAtthew Broderick, Tea Leoni, Michael Pena, Gabourey Sidibe
Studio: Universal

Synopsis: After a crew of employees at a ritzy apartment building in New York are fleeced of their savings by one of the tenants, a wealthy businessman, in a Ponzi scheme, the working stiffs (with the help of a career criminal) plot to rob his penthouse to get their money back.

The Good:
Eddie Murphy was great in this movie. He was channeling a little Reggie Hammond in his portrayal of Slide, a petty thief and all around loser, and every time Murphy was on screen the energy of the movie increased.
Alan Alda was a pleasant surprise too…after playing stand up nice guys for the majority of his career it was fun to see him play such a douchebag with so much gusto.
Shockingly the other standout in this movie was Gabourey Sidibe. The PRECIOUS actress was a vibrant scene stealer and not even a dodgy Jamaican accent took away from her performance. She and Eddie Murphy had a really playful chemistry in their scenes too.

The Bad:
The rest of the cast was badly underutilized. Michael Pena can be hilarious and I have seen him even overcome terrible, unfunny movies (like in the terrible 30 MINUTES OR LESS where Pena stole the whole movie as a hitman) so I was shocked by how little I was entertained by his character. The direction was pretty spotty too. Brett Ratner is not a very good director but he does have a knack for shooting these types of films well. What happened here I don’t really know.
I also don’t know when Ben Stiller stopped being funny (I’m thinking it was around the first NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM movie) but he has just given up the ghost.

The Ugly:
I need someone to explain to me why they would make a movie starring Eddie Murphy, where Murphy was the most dynamic performer of the entire cast, and limit him to less scenes than Casey freaking Affleck! I think a full 35 minutes went by and Murphy was only shown in the background of two scenes of Ben Stiller walking down the street. That is just stupid and the primary reason why this movie didn’t work. You don’t keep your best performer off the screen when he is one of a handful of actors who actually seemed to be energized about their performance.

Final Verdict:
TOWER HEIST was a good idea that was executed very poorly…a heist comedy with such a timely subject matter should have been far more entertaining than this movie was. The cast that was assembled should have been a home run but poor direction, an insipid script, and lazy performances from the majority of the cast torpedoed any hopes of this movie realizing its potential. C

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