[Tower HeistDirected by Brett Ratner
Starring: Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Casey Affleck, and Matthew Broderick
MPAA: PG-13 - For Language and Sexual Content]
Well, the reason why there wasn't a review last weekend was because I was at a college field trip at San Diego. But fear not, people who actually follow my work for some weird reason, for I have seen a new release and plan to review it for you all. The only problem with that is the movie in question was so boring and forgettable that writing a review will be a challenge. But hey, a good challenge should never be turned down, unless that challenge is who can rape the most orphans in a school bus, so I accept.
So, Tower Heist is a something something about some guys doing stuff and things...god damnit, where's that Wikipedia page, I need help...
Okay, so Tower Heist begins with a man named Josh Kovacs (Ben Stiller) who manages the help for a gigantic building known as The Tower (Which, apparently, is owned by the Crackdown 2 naming committee). The man who lives on the penthouse of The Tower, named Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda) is caught attempting a Ponzi scheme. Because of this, all of the employees' investments are pretty much screwed over as a result. Shaw is put under house arrest in his penthouse until he can be proven innocent/guilty, but Kovacs wants to give the employees the money they damn well deserve. So he enlists the help of a criminal known only as Slide (Eddie Murphy) to help them conduct a robbery on The Tower, and get payback. And so a heist movie ensues...
If anything about Tower Heist is interesting, it isn't so much the movie itself as it was the story of how it was made and a certain...scandal that erupted over Comcast.
BACK STORY TIME! The original concept, which was pitched by Eddie Murphy himself, involved an all-African-American cast robbing the Trump Tower. Before you know it, the whiteys came in and fucked Murphy's shit up, and it eventually became an almost entirely different movie about a bunch of middle-class white people (with their 2 crazy, black sidekicks) robbing an even richer white person who has no regard for said middle class--this way, the incredibly thick audiences can still root for the thieves while still having fun with the whole heist scenario.
Then there's the whole Comcast deal, in which Universal actually wanted to release the movie 3 weeks after its theatrical opening via home-viewing through Comcast's on-demand system. There's nothing entirely wrong with this idea. It's just that they planned to have it cost a buttfucking $59.99. Yup, they expected people to pay $59.99 for one movie.
Combine that with the fact that it's directed by Brett Ratner, who's never made a great movie (even his enjoyable movies aren't really memorable or worth anyone's time), and there was really nothing that could possibly make me want to see this film, even though I like Ben Stiller, and I like Eddie Murphy (When he's in full-on Eddie Murphy mode, not when he's on Pluto Nash/Meet Dave mode).
But hey, let's stop stalling by talking about the behind-the-scenes crap (I seriously was stalling) and let's actually start talking about the movie itself which I still barely remember.
So...I didn't even really want to see this movie, in fact, this was one of those rare cases where I was legitimately forced to view it (It was part of the College trip, and the supervisors didn't want anyone to get out of their sight, so it was either watching it and having a review for you or attempting to fall asleep amidst the super-loud surround sound theater). So what happened was this: The logo popped up, I realized the mess I got myself into, and then just thought to myself, "Okay, movie. All you have to do is be entertaining. If you can do just that, that one simple thing that a heist movie should do, then I won't strangle myself, okay?"
So you shouldn't be surprised to see that, by the rope burn markings on my neck, I was absolutely bored with Tower Heist the minute it started. There really isn't much to say about this movie other than it's just really, really boring. It's a pretty bad movie. It's not offensively bad, but I still find it offensive in that cynical, Hollywood type of way, where the people who made this clearly thought that slapping on an A-list cast, but without giving them any real jokes or material to work with, was enough to call it a day.
The plot and characters are about as paper-thin as...well, paper. What makes it even more frustrating is that the seeds of an interesting movie are here. There's a backstory that's hinted at between Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy's characters in which they actually knew each other as kids, but ended up in completely opposite ends of the social spectrum. This is never brought up again. Eddie Murphy's character and Casey Affleck's character double cross the other heroes of the film, but then literally join back up with the protagonists instantaneously. The fact that they were switched from good guy to bad guy to good guy...is never brought up again. Matthew Broderick is a Wall-Street expert who is evicted from his apartment and becomes homeless. This is never brought up again.
Hell, there are a lot of economic themes bubbling underneath the Bernie Madoff-inspired concept that any American audience member, mainstream or not, can identify with...and the movie does nothing with any of them.
Okay, I get it. Brett Ratner is one of those "turn off your brain" type directors who's more into letting the audience "have a good time" rather than really engaging the intellect, but some effort and thought needs to be put into a film. It is entirely possible for a really fun movie to have a lot of smart themes and ideas underneath it. Look at Inception. It's a smart movie, but it's also got amazing action and a good heist in it. And it made somewhere north of $800 million at the box office.
The thing is, good actors, interesting characters, and interesting themes can still make a fun movie, but it can also make that fun movie even richer and more compelling. It maddens me when I hear that people find Drive boring because of its Sunday-stroll pacing, when it has crazy talented actors like Ryan Gosling and Carrey Mulligan doing some of their best work, a great visual look and style, an awesome bubbling tension, and even some great action sequences: All of these things can still gain the audience's interest and attention, but instead, everyone decides to act lazy and not even pay attention to THAT kind of stuff.
See? I just went off-topic and you probably didn't even really care that much. Okay, back to the actual movie:
If there is one thing that the movie has going for it, it's Eddie Murphy going back to pure Eddie Murphy mode. While I found the movie boring for the most part, Eddie Murphy gave the film a much needed injection of personality to keep me from falling asleep. Though, to be fair, it wasn't that all of Eddie Murphy's jokes and scenes were any better. It's just that his delivery was actually funny. So yeah, it wasn't really so much that the jokes were funny, but that the way he said his lines was pretty funny. Still not much to celebrate about.
The actual heist is beyond disappointing. It takes a lot of effort to screw up a heist sequence in a movie. The thing is, there are a lot of factors that go into a heist, and any sane, intelligent human being would acknowledge those factors. Brett Ratner doesn't. The characters aren't remotely smart enough to handle a heist as big as the Trump Tower (I know it's called The Tower in the movie, but shut up, it's basically the Trump Tower), and the film doesn't make it convincing that these people would even remotely succeed at it, either.
The pay-off has some interesting ideas for fun heist sequences such as moving a car from a penthouse to the bottom of the building, but somehow manages to make even that boring. I honestly couldn't believe it. It was actually pretty hard to watch. It was like watching Homer Simpson making cereal with just corn-flakes and milk, yet Homer is so god damn stupid that it somehow spontaneously combusts into fire.
In fact, that's a good summation of the entire movie, so I might as well skip on over to the...
Final Verdict: There are some really funny actors in this movie, a good premise, and some interesting ideas that could be utilized in this picture, and director Brett Ratner is so untalented that he simply can't do ANYTHING with them. I know, it sounds like I genuinely despise this movie, but I don't really. I just find it incredibly forgettable, bland, and downright boring. What I do despise is the Hollywood "I don't give a fuck" mentality that was put into the making of this picture, and how it was able to screw things up even with promising things for the movie to take advantage of. While Eddie Murphy (and even Gabourey Sibide, surprisingly enough) do have some funny moments, it simply isn't enough to save this movie from...
...you know what, I already forgot what I was doing here. I'm going to make a sandwich.
See ya next time. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to call up Lacuna Inc. to erase all my memories of this movie. I've already forgotten most of it, so why have it pop back up again? Bye!