November 23, 2011

MOVIES: Tower Heist (Brett Ratner, 2011)

Ben Stiller stars as Josh, the general manager of The Tower, a high-class apartment building for New York's elite. Occupying the penthouse is Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda), a Bernie Madoff type who's just been arrested for defrauding his investors. Among those investors is the pension fund of The Tower's employees, leading Josh to head up a team of several of The Tower's employees to break into Shaw's apartment and steal the money they believe is hidden there.

The team of bungling robbers includes Matthew Broderick and Gabourey Sidibe, plus Eddie Murphy as the small-time burglar recruited to be the brains of the operation; Tea Leoni gives the movie's best performance, loose and charming, as the FBI agent on Shaw's case.

It's not a horrible movie, and there are a few amusing moments; the climactic heist scene makes good use of the Macy's Thanksgiving parade. But it's a sadly unambitious movie, and everyone involved seems to be perfectly content to have cleared the "not horrible" bar, with no thought that a little more work (or, dare I say, some rehearsal) might have actually led to a good movie.

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