Brett Ratner's credit crunch caper begins in a blur of hyperactivity.
Josh Kovacs (Ben Stiller) is the general manager of a huge Central Park condominium, bending over backwards for tenants such as good-ol'-boy billionaire Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda). Kovacs says things like,"Walk with me!". as Ratner whizzily introduces the rest of the ensemble. so primped, primed and efficient is this opening it looks like we're in for a textbook crime caper farce. We're not. Shaw, it transpires, is on the make, gambling and losing the staff's pension funds. After a (welcome) moment of madness involving Shaw's prize possession (Steve McQueen's sports car) and a golf club, Kovacs, his concierge (Casey Affleck) and the bellboy (Michael Pena) are sacked and plot revenge. Here begins the caper part of Tower Heist by far the movie's best stretch which sees the gang, plus a Wall Street whizz (Matthew Broderick) and an actual thief (Eddie Murphy, back on top form), planning the titular take back.
It's got everything a comedy needs space for the characters (and the audience) to breathe, good one liners and the bonus pleasure of watching a strong cast amiably goofing around, but unfortunatly
It doesn't last. For the final third, we're back on director Brett Ratner Time, with each potential laugh or left turn feeling more contrived than convincing. Everything feels so rigorously over controlled it leaves looser moments, such as when FBI agent Leoni gets riotously drunk, playing like comedy stand outs rather than charming asides, and that just shouldn't happen with players this talented. Most of all, you wish that Kovacs would let go and "do a Nicholson" on a few more supercars because this is one shiny star vehicle that could really use some scuffing.
Tower Heist is far from a bad film, it's very slick and entertaining whilst it last, but the under use of Eddie Murphy is a crime in it's self as it's a long time since we saw this once comic legend fire off lines as if he was Axel Foley. The problem with the movie is it's missing that special something that makes it stand from the crowd, and whilst entertaining it also forgettable equel measure.
See if you like.....
The Bank Job.
The Italian Job (2003)