Monday, November 14, 2011

Tower Heist

The Flick: Tower Heist

The Peeps: Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Alan Alda (does he ever play a good guy anymore?), Tea Leoni, Casey Affleck, Matthew Broderick, Gabourey Sidibe, Michael Pena, etc.

The Dealio: Wall Street bigwig/investor Arthur Shaw (Alda) is indicted for fraud on a grand level. He is put under house arrest in his sumptuous penthouse in The Tower until his trial (flight risk like a Topgun grad). Along the way, and prompted by manager Kovacs (Stiller) to invest on behalf of the supremely coddling staff, Shaw has managed to 'lose' 100% of their retirement. When Kovacs discovers that Shaw continued to play and spend hearty- even when he knew he was bankrupt- using their investment's so ON. Although lacking the skills, knowledge, devious nature and even the ability to lie convincingly, the staff-organised by Kovacs- decides to pull a heist. First step, recruit a known felon with experience in this particular area. Enter 'Slide' (Murphy). Subsequent steps involve recreations of the heist locale using building blocks and tapping into arcane knowledge about movies, elevators and surveillance. Equal parts slapstick and hubris (Alda's Shaw slitheringly slices Kovacs to ribbons with a bland smile on his face and nary a regret or show of emotion), cutesy planning sessions and unique opportunities for each player to have his/her moment in the limelight, this is a textbook example of voluntary suspension of belief because the audience actually likes the characters and is willing to grant them some space to make their cases.

The Grading Session: 4.57 pengies out of 5. And it sure is nice to see Leoni back in action...literally. This is a far from perfect movie- I wanted a slightly different ending- maybe along the lines of Ocean's 11 (I dunno. Something like) ? But it sure was satisfying on a light and airy level. As stinging social commentary? Not so much.

Lessons Learned: Crime may not pay, but for a while, it provides, in influence and power-brokering, a pretty good ride. Also- never under-estimate the force and vector of wronged peeps seeking restitution and revenge. Lastly this: great to see Murphy back doing what he does best.

Notable Quotables: Kovacs: 'I did this because I was promised a threefold return over traditional investments.' Odessa:'Did I ask for three times as much return?' And this one: 'You passed the bar only 3 days ago?!' 'Yes. Sharks are born swimming, sir.'

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