Tower Heist (2011) Directed by Brett Ratner. With Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Tea Leoni, Casey Affleck, Alan Alda and Matthew Broderick.
For a man who made his name with fast paced action comedies like Money Talks and the Rush Hour trilogy, it would seem that Brett Ratner has come full circle as a director with this light on it’s feet crime caper about a group of employees working inside an upmarket tower block who after losing their jobs, plot an elaborate heist of their corrupt ex-employers secret stash.
What on paper sounds very much like a tired and worn formula is surprisingly entertaining as each actor seems to relish every second of screen time. The sight of Eddie Murphy hitting the right comic beats and fully letting loose with a funny script is a pure joy while Ben Stiller suitably compliments him with his typical but like-able straight man shtick. Outside of that Alan Alda is smarmy and self satisfied enough to boo-hiss as the villain of the piece while Ratner successfully keeps the action and comedy on the straight and narrow with a tight tempo.
What’s interesting is just how much more I enjoyed this than the recent Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, which seemed altogether at odds with itself as to what it wanted to be. Tower Heist may never be celebrated as a classic, but it has a sense of energy and fun coupled with a well-gelled cast that give off the impression that the people who made it had a great time doing so. It’s pleasing to report some of that should rub off on you. 3/5