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‘Tower Heist’ hits the mark

Tower Heist

Our Rating: B

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Jack Connors, Staff Writer

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Like a piece of bubble wrap, “Tower Heist” is entertaining and fun, albeit lacking any long-term appeal. Director Brett Ratner sticks to form, creating a viable distraction that fits in well with the rest of the season’s fare.

The premise of “Tower Heist” is realistic and instantly familiar to viewers. Famous investment banker Arthur Shaw, played with an appropriate amount of Madoff-ism by Alan Alda, has stolen away with the pension funds of his penthouse tower’s employees after being entrusted with them. This in turn earns the ire of the employees, notably building manager Josh Kovacs, played by Ben Stiller. After losing his job, Kovacs enrolls his fellow former coworkers Charlie and De’vereaux, played by Casey Affleck and Michael Pena respectively, evicted tenant Fitzhugh, played by Matthew Broderick, and local thief Slide, played by Eddie Murphy, in a daring attempt to steal back the money that Shaw has done away with.

While Stiller fulfills his role as leading man, Murphy effortlessly steals the show. In a sharp, and welcome, departure from his days as Donkey and Norbit, Murphy comes back to his roots as hilariously foul-mouthed and offensive, never hesitating to kick good taste in the mouth. He and Broderick make an excellent comedic duo, every scene shared full of non-stop wisecracks between the whitebread, easily intimidated straight man Broderick and Murphy, his polar opposite.

However, Murphy and Broderick do not do enough to completely cover the failings of Tea Leoni, who plays FBI agent Claire Denham. Leoni spends her first major scene inebriated, and never seems to sober up, stumbling and squinting through the rest of the film. This completely ruins every chance the character has to be both a love interest and antagonist to Stiller’s character, instead making her out as clumsy and inept.

“Tower Heist” meets the bar for expectations, not rising above or below. The only true star of the film is Murphy, though the rest of the cast, with the exception of Leoni, does not disappoint. The action scenes are well placed, sparse enough to avoid joining the ranks of Jerry Bruckheimer films, but common enough to avoid boring the audience.

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‘Tower Heist’ hits the mark