When you have a giant news event like the Bernie Madoff story you are always going to get movies that take some spin off that real life news event. Whether they use a similar scenario or they take a “what if” approach. Whether they go to the theaters, direct to video or end up on Lifetime. The result is usually the same. They are rushed and rarely very good. You can’t have a topical movie if the movie isn’t released while the topic is relevant.
Tower Heist is relevant and rushed. It works as a simple and fun tale of the little guy getting revenge on the money shark who thinks he is above it all. Alan Alda plays a really good scoundrel who pretends to be your friend while looking down on you with every moment and holding his breath so as not to be forced to inhale the stench of the regular man. You cheer for Ben Stiller, you understand the subtle and under developed complexities of Casey Affleck’s character, you are amused by Eddie Murphy and Michael Pena, you are fascinated by the beauty of Tea Leoni, but for the most part you don’t really care for anything going on. The gravitas of what has happened to the lives of these characters just isn’t there, but then again its a comedy not a drama and gravitas is always second place to laughs. Unfortunately the laughs aren’t that powerful either.
The plot works for the most part until you get to the first of two story twists. I won’t ruin anything for you, but you will know the twist I mean once they open the hidden safe in Alan Alda’s penthouse. Now while the writers thought that was the first twist, the actual first twist comes immediately afterwards because lets face it, the contents of that safe was not much of a twist. The next twist is the one I like, the one the comes in the interrogation room between Ben Stiller, the FBI and the DA. That scene and the ending scene make this movie different and make it stand out. It also serves to bring a little reality back to a story that got completely out of hand during the heist portion.
This is not a bad movie, its fun, amusing and has a lot of big name stars. It is what I like to call extremely average. A high C or low B at best. It is still worth checking out as long as the rental fee is not too much. Your time will not be wasted.