Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy team up to take out a rogue millionaire in this ambitious comedy.
When you bake a cake (bear with me on this one) you ensure you have all the ingredients and the equipment. You add just the right level of sweetness and make the sure the mixture is of the right consistency, yet sometimes when you bake it, it just doesn’t come out of the oven the way you wanted it to. Well this film is similar to the cake; it has all the right ingredients, a clever storyline, a star-studded cast and a great director, yet it doesn’t live up to all the excited expectations.
Director Brett Ratner, of Rush Hour fame, is no stranger to comedy, and with an all-star line-up led by Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy you’d think the film would have a recipe for comedic perfection. Surprisingly, Eddie Murphy is the film’s only saving grace. Let’s face it, Murphy has in recent times drifted far away from his heyday, after sucking the humour of The Nutty Professor and Dr Doolittle completely dry with their endless sequels, it is nice to finally see Murphy trying something fresh. Tower Heist sees Murphy’s return to form, as his character Slide packs most of the (few available) punch lines.
Albeit dry on the comedy, Tower Heist does have a unique storyline. Based in a luxury condominium building which houses millionaire clients, the building’s workers become swindled out of their retirement funds after being persuaded to invest their money with resident rogue millionaire Arthur Shaw (Alan Aida). Failing to reach help from the law, in an attempt to get their due back, the manager Josh Kovacs (Ben Stilller) bails out the street criminal Slide (Murphy), and enlists many of the Tower’s workers including the front-of-house secretary Charlie (Casey Affleck), the recently bankrupt and evicted resident Mr. Fitzhugh (Matthew Broderick) and the feisty safe cracking maid (Gabourey Sidibe), to steal from Arthur Shaw’s penthouse.
The plotline is incredibly well thought-out, and there are instances during the heist, which are quite witty and manage to generate laughs, but there just aren’t enough of them. Part of the problem is that there is just too much going on, there isn’t space for laughs because so much needs to be explained. Everything feels rushed and disjointed, it is a cake that has been taken out of the oven too soon, that hasn’t been allowed to cook, and it is a real shame. Tower Heist has all the right ingredients, but doesn’t manage to rise high enough, and overall you can’t help but be disappointed.