Hitting on topics such as Occupy Wall Street and Madoff type schemes that face investors today, Tower Heist couldn’t have opened at a better time. So appropriate for today’s headlines, it’s almost as if Brett Ratner and Universal Pictures looked into a crystal ball years ago when the film was given a go.
Téa Leoni Alan Alda
The Tower, a luxurious Central Park condominium, is a central character in this comedy with a terrific cast that focuses on one end or the other of a swindle and its aftermath. Josh Kovacs (Ben Stiller), who’s arrested by FBI agent Claire Denham (Téa Leoni), has been manager of The Tower for so long he knows every idiosyncrasy of each tenant. He runs the high rise with the precision of a well-oiled clock, paying special attention to billionaire Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda) who occupies the top floor penthouse.
It’s only takes Denham’s arrest of Shaw for swindling his clients to raise Josh’s blood pressure. Hoping to help the employees of The Tower, Josh secretly invested their pension funds in one of Shaw’s ventures. As each one learns about their fate, Josh realizes he’s doomed their lives.
Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, Gabourey Sidibe
When he hears news that Shaw might have hidden a large sum of cash in his penthouse, Josh gets an idea. He rounds up some of the employees including a Jamaican maid (Gabourey Sidibe), the new concierge and father to be (Casey Affleck), the elevator operator (Michael Peña) as well as a tenant about to be evicted (Matthew Broderick) and forms a plan. Bringing in a street delinquent (Eddie Murphy) the plan is set to unfold while the Thanksgiving Day parade takes place right down near the base of The Tower.
Michael Peña, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck
Murphy and Stiller enhance the ensemble cast by not playing their characters over the top. Affleck carries his role well, and Sidibe adds some surprising elements to her character. Alda pulls off the shyster Shaw as if he was born to play the part. The appealing story, as told by Ted Griffin and Jeff Nathanson’s screenplay, appears to be one often seen when catching the trailer or even at the beginning of the film. Yet filled with twists and turns at every corner and including lots of humor, Tower Heist is thoroughly entertaining.
Photo Credits: Wilson Webb / Universal Studios