While I was watching Tower Heist, it was obvious what it was trying to be. It was trying to be the new Oceans 11. I may be completely alone on this, but I didn’t like any of the Oceans movies. The first two were overrated (I thought the third one – while not great – quality entertainment). It’s just a series where tons of top actors can go and hang out and, at the end of the day, they put together a movie. I am all for movies that are mindless fun. There are lots of those movies I enjoy. The Oceans series was beyond mindless, though – entering the realm of the inane. While I liked Tower Heist a more, it is by no means a good movie.
Like most movies of this genre, you know the plot and you know how it’s going to end. A group of hard working guys want to team up to rob their boss’s high-rise residence. They are doing this because he fired them and he’s perpetrating a Ponzi scheme. They come up with an elaborate plan, but then they start to wonder if it can actually be done (of course it can in this type of movie). I would explain more, but I don’t need to. You know everything you need to and more from those few lines.
The script is hit and miss. Unfortunately, it’s more miss as the movie goes on. A couple of times I genuinely laughed. Other times I just sat there and hoped someone would say a funny line. I didn’t expect a great script from a movie like this. I wouldn’t have noticed it as much if everything else had distracted me. If a movie is really fun, I don’t care if the script is mediocre. When the level of plot craziness dropped, I started “dropping out” of this movie. For every funny line, ten bad ones followed. It’s a shame because Jeff Nathanson can write good things. He wrote the script for Catch Me If You Can – the definition of a good fun movie.
The heist is fun to watch, and it is nice to see how they plan it. This is an impossible heist to pull off. Like, no way this could succeed in the real world. I mean, they are throwing the law of physics out the window. The movie needed the fast paced planning and crazy things happening. Without that, it would have failed completely because we would have seen how dumb this was and just fallen asleep. Even with its flaws, I still wanted to see how they were going to pull it off. And even though how they plan and how they do it is silly, you still get some decent entertainment there. This is one of the things that kept me watching until the end. With that said, I have seen this all done before – and better. Granted, it has been done worse before as well.
Brett Ratner has had a hit and miss career. He has done good movies like the underrated The Family Man and this year’s funny Red Dragon. His missis include Rush Hour 2, Rush Hour 3, and After the Sunset. He doesn’t necessarily miss here. Ratner doesn’t do anything wrong so to speak. It’s really like he wasn’t even there. This movie didn’t seem like it had a director at all. Hopefully, he bounces back from this because I do think he has the skills to make a good movie.
Everyone is waiting for Eddie Murphy to have a comeback role. Well, it’s not this one. He doesn’t do anything new here. All he does is stuff he has already done, except he isn’t that funny in the movie. You get a little chuckle or two and he’s not bad, but it’s not the kind of performance that is going to jump start his career. You can pretty much say the same thing for Ben Stiller. I like Stiller when he does something good. Here he doesn’t seem like he tries, though. Both Murphy and Stiller have been in ruts lately (Murphy is in a bigger one). I hope they get better material. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just funny. The best performance, surprisingly, comes from Matthew Broderik. He has a likeable character and he delivers a likeable performance. He isn’t on screen all that much. I wish he had more screen time than he gets. Casey Affleck has had a good run of good movies and performances. Unfortunately, he ends that streak with this role. Didn’t like him in the “Oceans” series, and didn’t like him in this. In fact, all the actors, with the exception of Broderick, seemed like they were sleepwalking through this movie. Matthew Broderik was the only one that seemed like he was at least trying and he couldn’t have been better if he had wanted to. The material just wasn’t there.
This entire movie doesn’t try to do anything new or inventive. This is made clear in every aspect of Tower Heist. All it wants to do is to be another mindless entertaining movie. It succeeds a little bit, but not a lot. There were some good moments mixed in with the bad. In the end, although Tower Heist succeeds in what it wanted to be, it was totally forgettable. I just wished it had aspired to be something better.