November 4, 2011 Tower Heist
Studio: Universal Rating: PG-13 for language and sexual content.
Ripped straight from the latest headlines, "Tower Heist" is about a crooked rich guy played by Alan Alda. He uses a Ponzi scheme to steal a bunch of money, including the pensions of the working stiffs who run his apartment building.
But real life criminal Bernie Madoff didn't have to deal with a group of workers who take matters into their own hands to get their money back.
Ben Stiller leads this ensemble comedy. He's the building's manager who gets the idea to steal from the rich crook. But he has to convince his co-workers to join the scheme.
Finally, everyone is on board but the workers realize they need expert help. So they recruit Slide (Eddie Murphy) to mentor them in the ways of thievery.
The plan is formed...and it plays like a low budget "Ocean's Eleven." Some things go right...but enough things go wrong to keep the stakes high..and the laughs coming.
Although Stiller is the center, the ensemble is very good, including Casey Affleck, Matthew Broderick, Gabourey Sidibe and Michael Pena.
When you throw in Alda's slimy billionaire, and Tea Leoni's FBI agent, you have a great mix of talent. Add Murphy, who employs some of the raw comic skill he built his career on...and you get a fast-paced, funny film.
Director Brett Ratner has more than his share of critics. They moan about the way he churns out mindless Hollywood creations. But this time, he's made a mindless Hollywood creation that's entertaining. I can live with that.
And the timing of this release doesn't hurt...it gives the 99 percent something to cheer for...as a one percenter is dealt the justice he so richly deserves.
On my rating scale, "Tower Heist" earns a TRIPLE.
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