Release Date: Nov. 4, 2011
Running Time: 104 minutes
Remember when a vulgar Eddie Murphy was a funny Eddie Murphy? Director Brett Ratner clearly does, and his throwback action comedy Tower Heist harks back to a time when Murphy reigned supreme playing such hilariously foulmouthed, quick-thinking cool customers as 48 Hours’ Reggie Hammond and Beverly Hill Cop’s Axel Foley. While it’s refreshing to see Murphy in a comedy that isn’t aimed at families, Tower Heist doesn’t give him much to work with. As a career criminal recruited to steal $20 million from Alan Alda’s crooked Wall Street businessman, Murphy’s on his own line trying to squeeze laughs out of his colorless dialogue that often is punctuated with a derogatory term that rhymes with “witch.” He’s also playing a watered-down version of Reggie Hammond. Tower Heist often makes you wish Murphy would swap roles with Ben Stiller, who stars as the practical luxury apartment manager behind the plan to steal back from Alda what he stole in pension funds from Stiller’s staff. Both are stuck playing safe and obvious characters that fail to push their comedic boundaries. Murphy and Stiller do the best they can do under the circumstances, and with the help of their partners in crime Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck, Michael Peña and Gabourey Sidibe, Tower Heist is more of an amusing diversion that it deserves to be. As is his style, Rush Hour auteur Ratner keeps Tower Heist moving at brake-neck speed. The ending involves a priceless Ferrari dangling from the side of the tower block, and however improbable this may seem, but there’s no denying Ratner executes this thrilling moment in deliberate vomit-inducing fashion. But Tower Heist’s greatest selling point isn’t its high-profile cast or action sequences—it is a comedy of the moment goes beyond the concerns of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Tower Heist may not have anything original to say about the current economic situation, but it’s a relatable exercise in wish fulfillment for anyone sick and tired of the rich exploiting the average working stiff.
Aired: Nov. 3, 2011
Web site: http://www.universalstudiosentertainment.com/tower-heist/