Reviewed by: David Criswell
What’s wrong with the moral of this story? Do two wrongs make a right?
Wall Street crook
profanity and crude, vulgar language
Why is the world the way it is? If God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and loving, would He really create a world like this? (filled with oppression, suffering, death and cruelty) Answer
|Featuring:||Ben Stiller … Josh Kovacs
Eddie Murphy … Slide
Matthew Broderick … Chase Fitzhugh
Casey Affleck … Cole Howard
Téa Leoni … Claire Denham
Gabourey Sidibe … Odessa Montero
Nina Arianda … Miss Iovenko
Michael Peña … Rick Malloy
Alan Alda … Arthur Shaw
Judd Hirsch … Milo Krayne
|Director:||Brett Ratner—“Rush Hour” 1-3, “X-Men: The Last Stand,” “Red Dragon”|
“It’s not just a robbbery. It’s payback.”
Hollywood has great marketers and horrible marketers. One thing they do not have is honest marketers. “Tower Heist” is a prime example of good, but dishonest, marketing. If you have seen the commercials, you were doubtless expecting a rip roaring comedy about a Wall Street crook getting his comeuppance. If you have seen the movie, what you saw was a stale caper film rewritten for the talents of Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy. However, Stiller and Murphy, despite their attempt to infuse some humor upon the script, fail to lift the script above its implausible and predictable origins. I got the feeling that the story had been kicked around Hollywood for years, being rejected by producer after producer until Murphy and Stiller saw an opportunity to transform it into a caper comedy. Nevertheless, the humor (most of it poor and crude) is stashed between boring, predictable, and stale heist scenes with a predictable ending.
The plot revolves around a Wall Street guru (Alan Alda), who has been funneling money into his own pockets. When the FBI show up at his ritzy apartment and seize his assets, the apartment manager (Ben Stiller) realizes that he and many of the apartment staff have also been cheated out of their life savings. He, therefore, enlists the help of petty crook Eddie Murphy to steal $20,000,000 which Alan Alda has stashed away in his apartment.
Exactly how Stiller knows where the money is hidden, since the FBI go over everything with a fine tooth comb, is only cursorily addressed, as is the logic of most of the caper. Since the film is transformed in a comedy (of sorts), this is excusable, or would be if it were actually funny. Nevertheless, our band of hapless thieves proceed to pull off the robbery of the century, all while the goods are protected by FBI agents. I shant detail the specifics, but there is between a difference a ludicrous but amusing heist, and a simply unimaginative heist hiding behind the “comedy” label to excuse a lack of imagination and illogic.
The greater problem with “Tower Heist” is that the entire barrage of humor is crude, rude, and unfunny. This is a prime example of a movie which has no excuse for not getting an R-rating. The language alone is excessive, including countless (I mean I literally could not keep count) vulgarities and profanities. Sexual comments and innuendoes also went far beyond the pale with constant jokes about sex, prostitution, lesbians, and Murphy giving detailed discussion and evaluation of women’s “boobies.”
Finally, the morality of making heroes out of criminals is certainly one which parents will want to address. Although we are supposed to sympathize with these crooks for “stealing back what was stolen from them,” this is not really true. The victim is not really the Wall Street guru but the millions of people he ripped off are equally robbed by our “heroes.” They are cheated for $70,000 and steal $20,000,000 which rightly belongs to many other victims.
This sort of justification for sin is too common in our society and the current political climate, particularly given the Wall Street backdrop, paves way for the justification which people use for sin. Yes, it is “just a film” but it is a film which is set against the backdrop of real white collar crime. It promotes relative morality and the same sort of excuses which these same white collar criminals used to embezzle money in the first place! Thus, our “heroes” are in reality the same as the white collar criminals they revile. The $20,000,000 which should have been divided among the victims, is divided among the robbers alone.
Ultimately, “Tower Heist” is a film which should have been left in the discarded script pile. As a heist film, it is illogical (how much weight does an elevator hold?), absurd (apparently the FBI doesn’t even bother to check glove compartments in cars), and cliché. As a comedy, it is crude, rude, and unfunny. My advice is to avoid the film, or at least wait until the DVD. Bear in mind, however, that this is an R-rated film, regardless of what label the MPAA put upon it.
Violence: Mild / Profanity: Extreme—G-damn (4), “Oh G_d” (3), “Jesus” (2), OMG, “For Chr_st’s sakes”, “Jesus Christ,” “Oh J_sus,” s-words (36), and many vulgar sexual terms / Sex/Nudity: Heavy
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
“‘Tower Heist’ feigns being an ‘Ocean’s 11’ for schmucks, but plays like a retread of ‘48 Hours.’… action sequences that could have come from an “80’s cop-buddy comedy, when Eddie Murphy made for a convincing con man. …”
—Scott Bowles, USA TODAY
“…the dialogue isn’t just foul, it’s routinely foul. … Nearly 50 s-words. God’s and Jesus” names are, together, misused a dozen or more times. Five or six times God’s name is combined with “d--n.”…”
—Bob Hoose, Plugged In
“…once again we have a film where our Lord’s name is tossed around blithely. Mostly, it’s the villain who profanes God’s and Christ’s name, but not all of the 10 profanities come from the antagonist. This verbal irreverence marred what otherwise would have been a nice comic fantasy about the good guys eventually besting the bad guys. …”
—Phil Boatwright, Preview Family Movie and TV Review
“…For what it is—recessionary wish-fulfillment escapism, with a lot of highly skilled familiar faces in its amply qualified cast—it’s fun. …”
—Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
“…The movie is broad and clumsy, and the dialogue cannot be described as witty, but a kind of grandeur creeps into the screenplay by Ted Griffin and Jeff Nathanson. …”
—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
“…Fast-talking, flummoxed and full of false bravado, Murphy gives a performance as a low-level thief that recalls his signature work in the movies that made him a superstar in the mid-1980s…”
—Christy Lemire, Associated Press Movie Critic
“…overblinged, eye-catching, and essentially tacky. …”
—Lisa Schwarzbaumm, Entertainment Weekly
“…could and should have been much more. …”
—A.O. Scott, The New York Times