Don’t be fooled by the trailer for Tower Heist, the new Brett Ratner comedy starring Ben Stiller as Ben Stiller, and Eddie Murphy as a stereotype with mad skills at impersonating other stereotypes. It’s not funny. It’s not horrible, either. It’s just kind of lame.
I wouldn’t say Brett Ratner has ever shown a particular gift as a filmmaker. He’s so proficient at ‘painting-by-numbers’ that he’s managed to get by in Hollywood. I can’t deny that Rush Hour was a good movie – so was Money Talks. But, Money Talks had Chris Tucker and a script that didn’t feel like it hated the audience. All Tower Heist has are the balls it repeatedly teabags you with.
Maybe I’m being too cruel. This movie doesn’t actually teabag you. But, the actors might as well be doing just that. They all seem to slide on through their sub-par dialogue. I got the impression that the poster should have been designed after a circus advertisement, proclaiming: ‘COME SEE BEN STILLER LOOK SAD!’ ‘WATCH EDDIE MURPHY SHOUT!’ Or, even: ‘LAUGHABLE SECONDARY CAST OF FREAKS AND RACIAL STEREOTYPES!’
I don’t know who to blame, the actors and their shoddy performances, or the screenwriter for crafting the most bland heist movie I’ve ever been the victim of. I find it hard to believe that this movie took 5 years to make, especially when studios pass on more quality screenplays everyday. It’s really depressing given the fact that one of the writers was responsible for Catch Me if you Can, which was a really good movie. The other guy wrote Ocean’s Eleven, for crying out loud. I feel bad for these guys, now. For this one, I’ll put the blame on the studio that probably shoved note after note across these guys’ desks.
If the definition of acting is looking at people and saying words, then Ben Stiller’s performance in this would fit the bill. He doesn’t really show any emotion in this. He says he cares when his employees lose their pensions, but he looks as if he just wants the day to be over and done with. He’s cast opposite Eddie Murphy who makes crazy eyes at the camera and shouts a lot. Casey Affleck, on the other hand, is tough to define. It seems that on certain days of the production, he wanted to give it his all, and he’ll lay down a genuine performance. On other days, however, it’s like he stopped caring, and started taking bong hits before takes. The rest of the cast is a dizzying assortment of racial stereotypes only there to force laughs out of the audience. They’re all written to laugh at, never with. Gabourey Sidibe, after a breakthrough role in Precious, has been degraded to portraying a Jamaican immigrant who’s not ashamed to feign sexuality to get a husband for a green card.
I know Mr. Murphy is trying to make a comeback, given his recent admonition that he will no longer make children’s films. Sadly, this really doesn’t put him off to a good start. This movie has no really redeeming qualities. The beginning of the film contains an exchange between Ben Stiller and the doorman. The two joke about old times together, and then the doorman stiltedly interrupts the reverie to tell Mr. Stiller that he’ll be retiring soon. It’s an awkward and uncomfortable exchange that was haphazardly thrown in to explain the character’s suicide attempt ten minutes later. This is the kind of laziness I’m talking about. This is the kind of movie that shits on everybody, the audience, and the filmmakers. I don’t hate this movie – it’s just a waste of time.