TOWER HEIST. Starring Eddie Murphy, Ben Stiller, Casey Affleck, Alan Alda and Matthew Broderick. Directed by Brett Ratner. 104 minutes. Rated M (Sexual references and coarse language).
Exactly what the title says.
However, like so many films these days, it takes its cue from the global financial crisis and the criminal behaviour of financial investors who take the savings of the working class for crooked investment plans while living the high life.
When one of these charmingly callous crooks is arrested and the hotel staff discover that he has lost all their pension fund savings, and that he might get off, what else can they do but make a plan to raid his apartment and take back the cash he has secretly stashed away? Well, there could be other options but, in the tradition of the movie heists, they decide to go for broke.
The first part of the film consists of introducing us to the characters, the bad (Alan Alda playing smarmy and ruthless), the good (Ben Stiller as the meticulous manager of the tower) and the ugly (Eddie Murphy back to his old style repartee, thank goodness, as a con whom they call in to train them and take part). The ‘them’ includes Casey Affleck as a nice but inefficient concierge, Matthew Broderick who has lost his money and is to be thrown out of the hotel, and Gabourey Sidibe a Jamaican on the staff whose father taught her how to open safes, and Stephen McKinley Henderson as an old, likeable doorman. Judd Hirsch is also around and Tea Leoni heads the FBI investigations.
No real surprises, but that does not matter. It’s how they do the heist and the twists in the execution, one of which concerns a valuable car which finds itself at one stage swinging wildly from the side of the Trump tower in New York which serves as the film’s tower (with, one supposes, no connection between Donald Trump and financial situations!).
Everyone does what is expected of them. There are plenty of awkward situations, near misses and clever misleading of the police and the audience.
It’s an easy holiday show – which can also get people going about the financial crooks of recent years.
Fr Peter Malone MSC is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.
Out December 26, 2011