Tower Heist

Directed By: Brett Ratner

Starring: Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Casey Affleck, Alan Alda, Matthew Broderick, Téa Leoni, Michael Peña, Gabourey Sidibe

In recent years, film trailers have become a bit of a contentious issue for moviegoers.  Many think that trailers have gotten better because they can make folks salivate at the mouth for the next Transformers or Twilight.  I'm not gonna lie.  Some trailers are pretty damn awesome.  However, others argue that trailers have gotten pretty crappy because they spoil the whole movie.  In two minutes, studios often give away two hours of plot details.  In that case, what's the point of spending ten bucks to sit in a theater with overpriced snacks?  There are some good points for both sides, but it's harder for a film to live up to the expectations set in a titillating trailer than it is to disappoint moviegoers with a crappy film spoiled by its overly revealing marketing.  Brett Ratner's Tower Heist is a great example of this.  Half of the film's best jokes were given away in the trailer, which costs this otherwise decent caper flick some stronger drinks when it comes to the Sobriety Test.

Josh Kovacs (Ben Stiller) is the building manager for the Tower, one of the most lavish high-rises in New York City.  He prides himself on providing superior service to the building's tenants.  He builds such a strong relationship with resident Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda) that he asks him to manage the pensions of the building staff.  When Shaw is placed under house arrest for stealing $2 billion and defrauding all his investors, Kovacs and his staff lose their life savings.  After his longtime colleague Lester (Stephen Henderson) tries to commit suicide because he's lost everything, Kovacs decides to get his staff's money back by stealing whatever money Shaw has left.  He enlists the help of his brother-in-law and colleague Charlie (Casey Affleck), elevator operator Enrique, and recently evicted tenant of the Tower Mr. Fitzhugh (Matthew Broderick).  To actually have a real criminal assist in this heist, Kovacs solicits the help of his longtime neighbor Slide (Eddie Murphy).

For the last decade, Eddie Murphy has been missing from the big screen.  He's been a digital donkey in the Shrek flicks, an old black woman in films like Norbit, and otherwise one degraded black man in movies like Daddy Day Care and Meet Dave.  With all these horrible memories rehashed, I have only one thing to say.  Welcome back to the world of comedy Eddie Murphy!  Your unique brand of comedy brings big laughs back to theaters around the globe.  His refreshing performance in Tower Heist breathes life into the film and makes it worth checking out.  His character is rude and crude; he brings everything the film needs to be worthwhile.

Aside from the return of Murphy, Tower Heist is a film to which you have to warm up.  It's so cheery at the start that it's a bit dull.  Ben Stiller and the film's other stars only deliver a fraction of the laughs brought by Murphy, and it's noticeable.  At this point in his career, Stiller's comedy is fairly predictable as is the rest of the film thanks to the trailer.  Because of this, the film is not as funny in its first hour as it could have been.  When Brett Ratner unleashes Eddie in the second hour, things get pretty wild and hilarious.

For the most part, Tower Heist is a fun flick with quite a few laugh-out-loud moments.  Eddie Murphy shows us all over again why moviegoers fell in love with his brand of comedy so many years ago.  The only problem is that too many of his jokes were given away in the trailer for the movie.  This decent flick gets a 0.06% rating.  Have a few beers with this one.  Those drinks might make the film even funnier.