Movie Mind Says:  Wait for Basic Cable

If You Like This You Should Watch:  Showtime, Cop Out
Better Than:  I Spy, The Man
Worse Than:  The Other Guys, Inspector Gadget, Bowfinger

Tower Heist

Starring: Ben Stiller, Alan Alda, Matthew Broderick, Eddie Murphy, Casey Affleck

What usually happens when you combine a supposedly all-star cast with a very shoddy story and writing for simpletons? Pure crap. Also known as, Tower Heist. The biggest heist that was pulled off here was when the ticket booth took my money for admission to this lame piece of trash. You all should know by now that The Movie Mind certainly appreciates his share of stupid comedies that would make more intelligent folk cringe after mere minutes of viewing. Yet even I can’t defend this one since there is a key component missing from it that those other stupid comedies had: comedy. This movie is simply the most boring “caper” film I’ve seen in a long time. I kept waiting for it to pick up but instead I went a solid hour without even so much as a chuckle. If this film isn’t up for a year-end Razzie then I’m boycotting movies.

The director of Tower Heist, Brett Ratner, is on quite the career slide. First he trots out this waste of a film canister and then he’s booted off producing the Oscars for uttering a gay slur. Keep it up Brett, you’re sure on a roll since you put together that gem we now know as Rush Hour 3. As for the acting, let’s just say there wasn’t any. I’m mostly disappointed in Stiller because he’s been able to turn some lousy roles into being moderately amusing (see: Heartbreak Kid). He wasn’t given a great script to work with and he certainly didn’t do anything in particular to help it out. Stiller and the rest of the “star-studded” cast probably had their own heist going on when they went to collect their paychecks.

If this was supposed to be Eddie Murphy’s comeback comedy moment, he might as well spend his time back in West Hollywood “helping” more transsexual prostitutes because it would be a better use of his time. He played the cliché racial fodder role and was fairly insignificant other than an amusing line or two. Then there’s poor Matthew Broderick…my how the mighty have fallen. He’s far from Ferris Bueller these days and I wish he wouldn’t tarnish my lasting image of him any further. Throw in useless roles from other respectable actors like Casey Affleck and Tea Leoni and you would think this was Valentine’s Day reincarnated.

In case you actually care what the film is about, I would recommend you watch the 30-second trailer and that would pretty much cover the whole story. The gist of it is that Stiller manages The Tower (Trump Tower was used as the real building) which is an exclusive hi-rise residence for rich folks. They offer first-class service and are at the beck and call of their pampered owner residents. In the penthouse and the picture of excess is Alan Alda’s character. He’s a filthy-rich financial mogul set up as a Bernie Madoff caricature. Stiller invested the pension fund of his building employees’ with Alda and it’s all gone now. The obvious question here is what kind of building offers a pension to their staff these days? Then where things start getting kooky is Alda has powerful friends that are about to get him off from all charges, this after running a Ponzi scheme and being a fraud. I find it hard to believe that in this day and age someone would be able to sweep those charges under the rug and get away with it all. But if you think that’s hard to believe, just wait until the end. Let’s just say it involves 4 dudes lifting 2,000 lb. objects out of 50th floor windows, in elevator banks, and somehow getting them in a pool. I’m all for literary license and giving some leeway in terms of realism inside a film, but this became absurd really quick.

So if it’s not funny, if it’s not believable, is it’s not suspenseful, and it’s not even entertaining, then what is it? Exactly what it advertises: a heist of your time, money, and intelligence. Now maybe we can finally figure out the real mystery of this film – why would anyone go see it?  
Submitted 11-14-11

Interesting Cameo Appearance:  Judd Hirsch (the neurotic dad in Independence Day and identical neurotic dad in the classic and underrated TV crime thriller, Numb3rs) as clueless building general manager, Mr. Simon.

Memorable Quotes:
Josh Kovacs:
The average apartment in the Tower costs 5.6 million dollars. We have the best views, the most advanced security systems, but you know what these people are really buying?
Rick Malloy: White neighbors?

Arthur Shaw: You people are working stiffs, clock-punchers. Easily replaced.
Josh Kovacs: I don’t care what it takes. I will find a way to make it right.

Slide: How come you bailed me out? Man, I don’t even know your name!
Josh Kovacs: You don’t remember Mrs Schaltzberg? We used to get dropped at her house every day for daycare! Heavy-set German woman, short goatee.
Slide: You the little seizure boy that’s having seizures all the time!
Josh Kovacs: Asthma doesn’t cause seizures!

Slide: You know this was a bad idea, right?
Josh Kovacs: That’s it, I don’t want you talking to me for the rest of the robbery!

Slide: I will blow your face CLEAN OFF your face!

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