Tuesday, November 1, 2011

REVIEW: Tower Heist

Tower Heist

Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy


November 4, 2011

Brett Ratner

Universal Pictures

1 hour 44 minutes



Have you ever been so ripped off by a wealthy businessman that you wanted to steal millions of dollars in order to square it even? Neither have I, but that’s exactly how the staff in 'Tower Heist' feel. They work in a building called “The Tower,” a luxury high-rise in New York. Arthur Shaw is the building’s richest resident, and he is in some serious trouble with the law. His punishment is house arrest, which might not exactly be a bad thing. The staff in The Tower, led by the head of The Tower’s staff Josh Kovacs, has learned that they’ve fallen victim to a Ponzi scheme run by Shaw. With the help of a recent ex-convict, the staff of The Tower devise a plan to rob Shaw of everything he has and get the money that was taken from them. 'Tower Heist' may sound like a full blown action thriller ala 'Oceans 11,' but surprisingly enough it is a comedy along the lines of 'Rush Hour.' With comedies you are supposed to laugh, and laughing is exactly what you’ll be doing when seeing this hilarious comedy. It's rare when my sister comes out of a movie and says "I want to buy this on DVD," so when I hear her coming out of a movie theater saying that I know that this movie will make anybody laugh their brains out. 'Tower Heist' is far from a perfect comedy, but it is most definitely one of the funniest movies of the year.
The last time we got a huge cast like the one in 'Tower Heist' was the ensemble comedy 'The Big Year,' and that one didn't quite live up to expectations. Eddie Murphy is one of the many comedians in this movie who were born from the humor of the 1980s. Murphy plays Slide, the criminal hired by the staff to help with the robbery. Murphy hasn’t made many PG-13 comedies in the past decade, so he returns onto the scene with full force as he provides many of the movie’s hilarious jokes. Sure the jokes are as stupid and immature as the 7th grader we once were, but it’s almost impossible not to laugh at anything that comes out of his mouth. The rest of the supporting cast, including Matthew Broderick in possibly his funniest role in recent memory, were all hysterical in their crazy roles. How can you not enjoy a movie with Academy Award nominee Gabourey Sidibe playing a kick ass maid? That's almost the equivalent of seeing Helen Mirren using a shot gun. However there was one weak link in the movie, which is very disappointing because he can be funny, and he is unfortunately the lead actor of the film. It pains me to say this ladies and gentlemen, but funnyman Ben Stiller is 'Tower Heist's' weak link.

Ben Stiller hasn't been in a creative live action comedy since 2004's 'Dodgeball,' where he was incredibly hilarious as the villainous White Goodman. Even in the 'Meet the Parents' movies, he's just that guy who seems to only know how to say "Yeah I, um, so uh, Yeah" as his lines of dialogue and get a paycheck for saying them. It's not only the "Yeah. Um's" we get from him, we also get his really fake argument voice when he's either trying to motivate someone in order to get the story started or argue at someone for some apparent reason. He also tries to act cool by breaking things (a Ferrari for example) and be his own "badass." To top that all off, Stiller dons a pretty bad Brooklyn accent, and I'd know because some of my family comes from Brooklyn. He may be the film's headliner, but Ben Stiller is the weakest actor 'Tower Heist' has to offer.

For those who don't know what foreshadowing is, it is a story technique where an author (or screenwriter in this case) purposely puts something small in their story only to show it's true importance towards the end. 'Tower Heist' uses foreshadowing in a very smart way, which many films haven't been able to do with perfection. 'Tower Heist' is funny, cool, and sleek, but is also one of the rare smart comedies to come out this year. The cast is hilarious and great, (except for Stiller) the story while not original is clever, and it's just one plain old fun time at the movies. This film was made purely for the laughs, and director Brett Ratner delivers the goods. This is Ratner's best movie since the original 'Rush Hour,' which also plays with insane jokes and a crime plot. Audiences everywhere will be laughing their asses off and just having a good time, which is the sole purpose of why a film should be made. Audiences may also see a strong resemblance to the Bernie Madoff story from a couple of years back, because the film takes some material from that case.

This weekend (November 4) also offers audiences the non-stop raunchy 3D comedy 'A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas,' which will appeal to some demographics. While I haven't seen any 'Harold and Kumar' movie, I still bet that this will be the better comedy to come out because it can appeal to everyone. I haven't seen my sister, a 10 year old, laugh so much in a movie all year, even though some of the jokes went over her head. If you want to check out a smart and hilarious comedy this weekend, don your terrible/fake Brooklyn accents, (if I offended anyone from brooklyn, I apologize) develop a stereotypical African American persona, (again, an apology to anyone who's offended) and go on a fun ride with 'Tower Heist.' I guarantee that audiences will be laughing about the film for many days after leaving the movie theater.

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