Film Review: Ben Stiller in ‘Tower Heist’ is a Waste of Time, Talent

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
No votes yet

CHICAGO – The frustrating madness that is the typical Hollywood movie never ceases to amaze, in the sense where large sums of cash are outlaid to pair the right movie stars together, and not one wit is expended to create an interesting or cohesive story. “Tower Heist” is the latest example of this sad trend. Oscarman rating: 1.5/5.0
Rating: 1.5/5.0

Billed as a comedy, “Tower Heist” has hardly any laughs in it, close to none, and waste the talents of Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy (awkwardly reverting back to his 1980s persona) and even “Precious” star Gabourey Sidibe. It attempts to make a statement about the working class versus the wealthy, but ends up diluting it in a heist plot that could only happen in the parallel universe of moviedom.

Josh Kovacs (Ben Stiller) is a concerned manager of a posh luxury condo building, one of the most expensive in New York City. He directs a staff of loyal employees, including concierge Charlie (Casey Affleck), doorman Lester (Stephen Henderson), elevator attendant Enrique (Michael Peña) and service maid Odessa (Gabourey Sidibe). One of the richest residents of the complex is Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda), an investment schemer who often talks down to the staff.

The current society is showcased through this condo enclave, as Shaw is convicted of securities fraud, while a neighbor named Mr. Fitzhugh (Matthew Broderick) is being foreclosed upon. When it is learned that Shaw had blown the employee pension fund and Lester’s savings as part of his crimes, manager Kovacs takes matters in his own hands by smashing a prized antique car in Shaw’s apartment. This leads to his firing, and as revenge he plots to steal cash reserves he knows are in the rich man’s apartment, recruiting Enrique, Charlie, Fitzhugh and a petty criminal named Slide (Eddie Murphy) as his cohorts.

“Tower Heist” opens everywhere on November 3rd. Featuring Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Alan Alda, Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck, Téa Leoni, Michael Peña, Stephen Henderson and Gabourey Sidibe. Screenplay by Ted Griffin and Jeff Nathanson, based on a story by Adam Cooper, Bill Collage and Ted Griffin. Directed by Brett Radner. Rated “PG-13”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Tower Heist”

Gang’s All Here, L-R: Ben Stiller, Matthew Broderick, Michael Peña, Casey Affleck and Eddie Murphy in ‘Tower Heist’
Gang’s All Here, L-R: Ben Stiller, Matthew Broderick, Michael Peña, Casey Affleck and Eddie Murphy in ‘Tower Heist’
Photo credit: Universal Pictures

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Tower Heist”

Brian V.'s picture

What makes this even sadder . . .

I first head about this movie, when they announced plans to market it as a special $60 early release on demand title (still 3 weeks after theater open). This had me falling out of my chair with laughter, but it truly sums up the disconnect between media conglomerates and their audience.


Universal Studios was recently planning to release Brett Ratner’s “Tower Heist” comedy through video-on-demand for around $60 just three weeks after the film’s theatrical release, which is on November 4th. Cinemark, which controls about 10% of domestic theater screens, quickly responded by saying it would not show the film in its theaters nationwide. Regal and AMC, the nation’s largest two exhibitor chains, had not indicated their intentions, but if either decided to join Cinemark, “Tower Heist” would be in serious trouble. Now comes word that Universal has decided to cancel the VOD release, but is not giving up on the strategy. “Universal continues to believe that the theater experience and a VOD window are business models that can coincide and thrive and we look forward to working with our partners in exhibition to find a way to experiment in this area in the future.” Click here to read more about “Tower Heist. »

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing


  • It's NOT ALL About You John Michael

    CHICAGO – John Michael epitomizes the art of the monologue. The Chicago transplant, by way of Dallas, is moving on (he says temporarily) from the city that inspired his last show, “Meatball Seance,” after notorious and successful runs of his other one-man shows, “John Michael and the Order of the Penix” and “Dementia Me.” His farewell performance is his latest, another laugh riot, “It’s NOT ALL About You John Michael,” and will take place at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood on March 1st, 2019. Click here for details, including ticket information.

  • Soccer Player in the Closet, The 2

    CHICAGO – Connecting to the theater collective Nothing Without a Company means a couple of things. One, you may visit parts of Chicago you’ve never seen before – in this case a plant store in an industrial area south of Humboldt Park – and two, you will see some daring and outside-the-box stagings. “The Soccer Player in the Closet” is their latest production – a World Premiere – and it provides what the title implies and beyond. The play runs through March 17th, 2019. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

Advertisement on Twitter

archive Top Ten Discussions