November 04, 2011

Tower Heist

From 48 Hrs. to 15 Mins.

Grade: C –
Director: Brett Ratner
Starring: Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, Alan Alda, Casey Affleck, Michael Pena and Gabourey Sidibe
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hr. 45 min.

The acting nebbish populating the comedy caper Tower Heist are ill-equipped for director Brett Ratner’s persistent but ever-inadequate action movie propensities. At the same time, Ratner and (count ‘em) four credited writers extract comic ore from their cast with the precision of a dragline. The result is a movie with an identity crisis whose edgiest trait is its stupefying dullness.

Josh Kovacs (Ben Stiller) is building manager for a Manhattan high-rise whose employees lose their pension to a Ponzi scheme run by Madoff doppelganger Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda), the tower’s penthouse occupant. Once the fed’s case against Shaw starts crumbling, Josh and four coworkers (Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck, Michael Pena and Gabourey Sidibe), aided by a motor-mouthed ex-con (Eddie Murphy), conspire to rob Shaw’s condo of ill-gotten loot.

As the hole-ridden plot staggers from one half-baked scene to another, its stars are left to yammer and mug for the camera in a desperate group salvage operation. The biggest heist here happens whenever someone buys a ticket to watch millionaire performers make a meager movie about stealing other people’s money.

Neil Morris

No comments: