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Tower Heist

8/10

Stars: Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck, Téa Leoni, Michael Peña, Alan Alda, Gabourey Sidibe, Judd Hirsch

Director: Brett Ratner


What is the one key element necessary for a successful robbery? An apparently foolproof plan would be essential. Definitely. And it would be helpful to have plotted how to make your getaway as well.

Here, in this enjoyable and funny if ultimately unbelievable crime caper, Stiller, who has managed one of the most luxurious residential hotels in New York for over ten years, is the mastermind behind the scheme to rob the luxury penthouse apartment belonging to Wall Street titan Alda who turns out to have been a crook who, among his other mega-dollar scams, has robbed the luckless hotel staff of their pension money they entrusted to him. And, having persuaded broke former Wall Street broker Broderick, who is being turfed out of his hotel apartment, concierge Affleck and newly appointed bellhop Pena into joining him in robbing the hidden safe in Alda’s apartment while the villain is being held by the law.

Stiller’s ace in the hole is to realise the plotters need a genuine crook in order to pull off the high rise heist and, fortunately he knows one. Stiller bails out local felon Murphy (in full motormouth mode) and the $20 million heist gets under way…

Ted Griffin and Jeff Nathanson’s inventive screenplay may not be credible but it’s ingenious and holding, with plenty of entertainment on the way to the lively climax. The characters are well played, with Broderick creating a particularly memorable portrait of a man teetering on the brink of total hysteria. Stiller provides the fable with its strong centre and there are no poor performances. It helps, too, that Ratner’s direction is more concerned with telling his tall story well rather than playing the auteur.

Result? Good fun in the tradition of The Italian Job (the Caine original that is, not the dreadful 2003 remake).

Alan Frank

USA 2011. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour.
104 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 31 Oct 2011