“Tower Heist” is first and foremost a very entertaining ensemble movie, with a cast of characters that we care about and a heist plot that we shouldn’t. In other words, go for the fun but don’t ask too many questions. Ben Stiller is Josh Kovacs, manager of an exclusive New York Condo Tower whose residents include Alan Alda’s nasty Madoff-like character, Arthur Shaw. Shaw has bamboozled Josh into giving him the pension money of the loveable building staff to invest, and lose. Stiller’s character decides to play Robin Hood and round up an unlikely band of Merry Men to make things right. The talented cast includes Eddie Murphy as Slide, an incidental childhood acquaintance of Josh , and career criminal, who is recruited give the band of newbie robbers some professional assistance in stealing back the funds hidden by Alda. The ensemble has uniformly fine comedic performances by Tea Leoni as an FBI agent with a fondness for Josh and his mission; Casey Affleck, Josh’s hangdog brother-in-law; Micheal Pena, in a fine comic performance as the street savvy tower elevator operator; Matthew Broderick as a wiped out Wall Streeter who slowly regains his confidence; and Oscar Nominee Gabuorey Sidibe as a fiesty Jamaican chambermaid with some larcenous skills of her own. Director Brett Ratner gave us the “Rush Hour” movies, so there’s plenty of action, but the script by Ted Griffin and Jeff Nathanson give us some great interchanges between Stiller’s avenger and Murphy’s hyper Slide. This the Eddie Murphy of “Trading Places” and “Beverly Hill’s Cop”, no fat suits required. Alda is delicious as the utterly immoral Shaw. This is ensemble you care about and if you don’t start asking things like “Wait a minute, how could they have done that?”, you’ll have a good time.
My GPA: 3.4