A comedy about working-class stiffs who stick it to the Wall Street type who stole their savings? Talk about ripped from today’s headlines.
Talk about Eddie Murphy, funny again after all these years.
A cast of comedy specialists delivers double-takes and one liners so well you don’t notice how clunky the actual caper is.
Ben Stiller is Josh, building manager in New York’s swank high-rise condo complex, The Tower, where the richest of the rich live. He’s drilled his staff on anticipating their every need: No client has to open his or her own door; no cheating husband has to worry he won’t be warned the wife’s on her way.
Guys like fund manager Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda) are kept in coddled comfort thanks to the labor of many. Josh is the “fixer” who makes The Tower run like a machine. His employees adore him.
But the feds arrest Shaw for financial wrongdoing, and Josh has to admit to his staff that he invested their retirement money with him. As they take stock of working lives they have nothing to show for, some think of suicide. Josh thinks of revenge.
Stiller does this good-at-his-job guy well, and Casey Affleck is spot-on as Josh’s lazy brother-in-law who can’t lose his savings or his job right now.
Gabourey Sidibe (“Precious”) is hilarious as a Jamaican maid who lost her savings and may lose her work visa if she can’t find a husband. Pena, of “The Lincoln Lawyer,” is a hoot. It takes talent to play this clueless.
Matthew Broderick is a nebbish laid-off Merrill Lynch manager evicted from The Tower. He’s lost his job, his home and his wife, and he’ll help with the heist.
But they need a thief: Eddie Murphy, manic, mouthy and menacing, a guy who can teach them how to pick a lock or lift a wallet.
The film’s funniest bits involve Stiller and Murphy remembering their pre-school past: “Little seizure boy! Little seizure boy wants to rob somebody!”
The caper itself becomes secondary when the message hits this close to home. In this economy, we’re all “The Help.”
What: “Tower Heist”
Starring: Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Tea Leoni, Alan Alda, Gabourey Sidibe, Michael Pena
Directed by: Brett Ratner
Running time: 104 minutes
Rated: PG-13 for language and sexual content