I liked Tower Heist. It is what it is: an escapist comedy. The movie is riddled with problems, but most movies are, especially comedies. I think people forget about suspension of belief with movies, especially comedies. In general comedies aren’t supposed to be realistic. They wouldn’t be comedies than, since humor tends to rely on exaggeration in some form. I mean even “great” comedies like Ghostbusters or The Blues Brothers clearly aren’t realistic. And really that was one of the biggest faults of the movie. It’s obviously not realistic and it has plenty of holes and issues with the story and more so if you try analyzing it to much.
Of course the movie isn’t original either, although at least they toyed slightly with our current climate. Still, how many heist movies are there and how many of those are comedies? There are plenty and they usually do decently because it’s a pretty straightforward set up. Some of the jokes are the same in the movies, but it doesn’t mean they can’t work. It’s about sitting down for less than two hours and just escaping and hopefully laughing, which I did. Tower Heist isn’t the best of anyone’s career (hopefully), but it wasn’t the worst. It was somewhere around mediocre and I don’t think it was trying to be anything more than that. I think people gave the movie a lot of hype partially because of Eddie Murphy’s appearance. People expected Beverley Hills Cop or 48 Hours and that’s not what this movie was trying to be. It isn’t even Ocean’s 11. It was funny though. I laughed enough to satisfy watching the movie and the audience I was with laughed a lot. I do have to say though, that the movie starts a little slow as far as humor goes. The set up for the film isn’t riddled with jokes.
My biggest problem with the film actually is the cast. There were a lot of goog to great actors here and everyone was at least ok. I don’t think anyone bombed. My problem comes from the supposed “Rat Pack” established here. Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck and Michael Pena didn’t have great chemistry in my opinion. Ocean’s 11 may not be the greatest example, but that movie had an ensemble cast where at least a number of that “gang” had at least decent chemistry with each other. Tower Heist lacked that. Part of the problem is the characters themselves I think. Each actor played a role they’ve had before for the most part. They played toned downed versions of what they’ve done more than once and while it was something of a positive I feel like it might’ve had a part in why the characters didn’t fit well. I also have to note that this is not a “comeback” for Eddie Murphy. He’s not bad, but he’s not where he was in the 80s. I didn’t really expect his performance to be up there, but something to be aware of. Tea Leoni, Alan Alda, and Gabourey Sidibe are all great and in some respect probably do a better job than the main characters.
I’m going to chose to ignore any comments on Brett Ratner’s direction. I don’t really have any strong thoughts on the man. I liked Rush Hour (1 & 2) and Red Dragon unlike some of his others films. I can see where he may be bit a of a dick, but that wouldn’t stop me from watching one of his movies. The comedies he’s made are similar and at least halfway decent. Hardly the worse movies ever made. That and comedies seem to be able to do well as long as the have a good cast and writing. The director just needs to let them do their thing and keep them on task.
The movie could have been better. The talent in the cast was there. Heck, if Murphy or Stiller had aided in the writing of the movie it probably would’ve been a great help. That’s not the case however and what we’re left with is a movie that I’d be fine with re-watching on TV or DVD somewhat regularly, but it’s not going to be a favorite. I don’t regret seeing it the theater, though if you are selective of what you go to the theaters to see I would probably pass.