Tower Heist (10/10)
by Tony Medley
Run time 104 minutes.
OK for children.
Sparked by the return of the
old Eddie Murphy of Beverly Hills Cop fame, this is laugh out
loud funny, with a terrific cast of accomplished comedians, including
Murphy, Casey Affleck, Matthew Broderick, Michael Peņa, Alan Alda, and
Judd Hirsch. With Ben Stiller as the glue, this is a throwback to
old-fashioned Hollywood movies that are simply funny. It has no need for
lots of profanity, although there is some (how could there not be with
Murphy in the cast?), or toilet or genital humor, the latter of which
has become one of Stiller's staples. Fortunately, here Stiller is not
playing it for laughs, leaving the humor up to people who are actually
Stiller recruits them all to
stage a revenge robbery of bad guy investor Alda's penthouse condominium
of $14 million, and it quickly descends into a fine screwball comedy.
Murphy took a two decade
vacation from quality, producing one bomb after another, one horrible
performance after another. Now he's gone back to his roots and the
result is a film that is as funny as he is, because he's just one of a
myriad of fine comedians. While the film has a fine script (apparently a
jumble that resulted from the efforts of Ted Griffin and Jeff Nathanson
with story credits to Griffin, Adam Cooper, and Bill Collage, too many
credits for what became a good movie), the person to whom this film owes
its quality is director Brett Ratner, who shows that he knows what pace
is and how to use it.
There is one scene, for
example, where the cast is planning the heist from Alda. It digresses
from planning the theft and descends into a discussion of lesbians that
is a classic example of perfect timing, one of the many scenes that
caused me to laugh out loud. Ratner paces this scene so that each line
is funnier than the one that preceded it, but doesn't linger. He gets
the laughs and moves on.
The result is a brilliant
comedy that I could see again, and that's about the highest praise I can
give a film.