Tower Heist DVD version
Four out of five stars
There are many films having the plot based on the execution of the major crime, this one is good, but does not rise to the highest level. Ben Stiller stars as Josh Kovacs, the manager of a very exclusive apartment building in New York City. Alan Alda is Arthur Shaw, a financier that lives in a luxury apartment in the building. Shaw is a financial crook in the mold of Bernie Madoff and with no warning the employees in the building learn that their pensions are now vapor. Shaw was given control of the pension fund at the request of Kovacs, for there was a promise of fantastic levels of growth.
Determined to get something out of Shaw, Kovacs recruits two employees of the building and one tenant to form a team to break into Shaw’s apartment and hopefully find something valuable to steal. When the FBI arrests Shaw, they think they have a chance, but only a short time later, Shaw is released for lack of evidence. Since the four members of the team have no criminal experience, Kovacs decides to include a criminal known as Slide that is played by Eddie Murphy.
There are several twists to the plot, due to their knowledge of the building and the quirks of the schedules, the break-in is well planned. However, several things go wrong and they are forced to improvise, the main adjustment involves a vintage car in Shaw’s apartment. The story ends well, even though the thieves are eventually caught.
Eddie Murphy plays a role that uses his talents as an over-the-top characterization, which sometimes does too much to steal the scene. The foibles of the other characters are often overplayed as well. The best supporting performance is that of Gabourey Sidibe as the maid Odessa. It turns out that she has skills that are essential for the caper. Téa Leoni plays Claire Denham, a very hard-nosed but adaptable FBI agent and that is the second-best supporting performance. She is a great foil for Kovacs and occasionally gives him some sound advice on what to do.
While the movie is too formulaic and sometimes moves a little too slow, there are enough plot twists to make it suitably unpredictable and enjoyable.