Tower Heist (2011) Is Light and Likable
Tower Heist is like cotton candy (for those who enjoy cotton candy), fun and likable, but unlikely memorable. Alan Alda is perfectly cast as the villain, a Wall Streeter who bilks a lot of people out of millions of dollars. He seems so much like someone who can be trusted to take care of your money and do right by you. After all, if Wall Street cheats all came across as sleazy slimeballs, who would trust them with their investments?
The Tower is a high-end condo that bears a remarkable resemblance to Trump Tower, perhaps because it was filmed there. The condos go for about $5.6 million and the tenants expect a high level of service. One of those tenants is Arthur Shaw (Alda), a friendly guy who was willing to help The Tower’s staff invest their pension fund at the request of building manager Josh Kovacs (Ben Stiller). Shaw is arrested for fraud, the pension fund is gone, and so are the individual investments of various Tower employees. However, the victims learn Shaw has a hidden stash of cash, estimated at $20 million, that the FBI hasn’t been able to locate. With that in mind, Kovacs hooks up with “Slide” (Eddie Murphy), a criminal who seems good at taking other people’s stuff.
Also appearing in Tower Heist are Casey Affleck, Matthew Broderick, Judd Hirsch, Tea Leoni, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Michael Pena, and Gaborey Sidibey. All are connected with the Tower, either as dispossessed condo owners or employees, and the idea of stealing back their years of earnings is appealing. None of them seems to have much potential as robbers, and their instructor, “Slide,” doesn’t seem much more adept (he’s been arrested, not a sign of success).
Not too much happens in Tower Heist that the audience doesn’t expect, and although it is fairly true to formula it is still fun. There is something in all of us 99-percenters that would like to see Wall Street crooks taken down big time, and the Tower Heist crew may not be the ones to do it, but we’re on their side. Surprisingly for this genre, Tower Heist has little romance, only a mild flirtation that goes nowhere.Continued on the next page