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Movie Review: Tower Heist (English) 143

Heist movies have hit the screens with regularity in every language and generation. You know how it all ends: the smart thieves get their booty despite all odds and twists. But, very few are actually smart and slick enough like an ‘Italian Job’ or an ‘Oceans Eleven’. On a comparative rating, ‘Tower Heist’ doesn’t even get close.

‘The Tower’ is a luxury high rise apartment (actually filmed at Trump International Hotel and Tower in Manhattan) where the hard working staff led by Josh Kovacs (Ben Stiller) make sure that its high profile tenants are pampered.

In the backdrop of difficult markets and people losing jobs including one of the Tower’s tenants and Wall Street trader Mr. Fitzhugh (Matthew Broderick), FBI arrests the wealthiest tenant Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda).

Just then, Josh realizes that his pension along with that of his staff have been wiped out in Shaw’s Ponzi scheme. To make matters worse, Josh and two others are fired for their outburst at Shaw. When the drunken FBI agent (Tea Leoni) reveals that Shaw could be having cash hoard in his penthouse, Josh resolves to steal it.

For all practical purposes, a film starring Ben Stiller cannot be an action flick. Thus, comedy is written into it. And Josh’s conspirators aren’t professional thieves, but a concierge, Charlie (Casey Affleck), an elevator operator, Enrique (Michael Pena), Fitzhugh and Odessa a cleaner (Gabourey Sidibe). So, they hire Slide, a small-time thief (Eddie Murphy) to teach them to do the job and Murphy adds a few laughs.

How the bunch of simple folk handle the heist forms the rest of the story. Contrary to other Heist flicks playing on the difficulty of the job or employ ‘Mission Impossible’ style technology or stylish actors, ‘Tower Heist’ tries to differentiate itself as a comedy where amateur thieves bungling up on something or the other. But, comedy is forced and feels as if someone is holding an ‘Applause’ or ‘Laugh’ board for the audience.

Going by the star power that ‘Tower Heist’ had, one would at least expect a decent comedy. But alas, such is not the case and you don’t see concrete stuff till it gets to the end, which, in contrast to the rest of the movie is smartly written. Well, you won’t mind watching it on Cable TV; but coughing up bucks for a movie ticket is a no-no.

Rating 4/10: Average fare; will fade out your memory in minutes
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