The less you know about the new crime comedy, Tower Heist, the better you’ll enjoy it. Like so many other movie trailers, the Heist trailer gives too much of the plot away. I got a chance to see this movie “blind” and really enjoyed it. Even though the trailer is posted with this review, if you plan to see the movie, you may want to skip the preview.
Headed by an all-star cast, Tower Heist is a modern day Robin Hood story that takes place in New York during the Thanksgiving weekend. Josh Kovacs (Ben Stiller) and his coworkers at an exclusive apartment building find that they have lost their pensions in the Ponzi scheme of a Wall Street businessman who lives in the tower. In a fit of anger, Josh loses his job and the jobs of his friends, Charlie (Casey Affleck) and Dev'reaux (Michael Peña). To make matters worse, it was Josh’s fault that all the employees have no pension to retire on. The only way for him to make things right, is to break into his old workplace and find where the thief hid their money.
This rag tag group of merry men includes Charlie, who’s wife is eight months pregnant, Dev’reaux, who has only been on the job for a couple of days, Mr. Fitzhugh (a weary-looking Matthew Broderick), a former high-paid wall street worker now an apartment squatter and Slide (Eddie Murphy), the only real criminal of the bunch. Those who have grown tired of Murphy’s family-friendly roles, will be glad to see the “old” Eddie back again. But then again, THAT Eddie comes with a potty mouth. A brunette Téa Leoni (almost didn’t recognize her), Gabourey Sidibe (Precious), Alan Alda and Judd Hirsch come along for the ride. In fact, even the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is virtually a character.
Heist is rated PG-13, but director Brett Ratner took full advantage of every swear word and crude expression he could get away with It’s a real shame as it doesn’t add a thing to the movie’s humor. In fact, this isn’t the funniest movie of the year but has a very satisfying story line with heart. In short, Josh is motivated by and risks everything for his friends. Heist is sort of a “fish out of water” and “stick it to the man” story with just a sprinkling of a holiday theme.
Other than the crude language, I didn’t find Heist to be an attack of a my conservative values, but it was annoying. That alone may keep you from letting your teenager see the film. If you are sensitive to rude language, then you might want to wait for an “edited for television” version. It’s silly, but in a clever way - similar in tone to the fairly unknown and under-appreciated The North Avenue Irregulars of 1979. It too is about regular working class folk having to work undercover to catch the bad guys.