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However you feel about director Brett Ratner (he of X3 and Rush Hour fame), for many the prospect of Eddie Murphy returning to his more mature and foulmouthed comedy roots is more than enough to get them into the cinema to see Tower Heist this month. And I’ll happily admit – that’s why I wanted to see it. Whilst the film has a fair few comedy stars (Ben Stiller, Matthew Broderick), it was Murphy I was keen to see. So how does he, and the movie, stand up?
Murphy first – he’s great. Frustratingly so, because he’s not given nearly enough screentime. The plot is very straightforward – rich tower dweller Alan Alda scams the staff of his tower out of their savings, so they (headed by Ben Stiller and including Gabourey Sidibe and Casey Affleck) plot to rob him. Along the way, they enlist Murphy’s character to help with the plot. It’s a decent premise but whilst Murphy could easily have lead here, he doesn’t get enough space to really bounce off the characters. That said, he’s on fine form so what we do see is great material.
The film, whilst a comedy throughout, is also pretty decent and whilst it’s lacking in outright hilarious moments, it’s consistently funny which is no mean feat. It’s well cast, and Stiller in particular is well suited to the role – one that requires a lot less caricature than he’s known for. There’s a great rapport with the characters and this is where most of the humour (for me anyway) can be found.
Being a Brett Ratner movie, everything looks pretty slick – there’s no car on earth as shiny as the Ferrari 599 in the movie – and it’s well shot. This is exactly the kind of movie he’s good at, as opposed to X-Men where his direction didn’t feel as suited at all. Other highlights include Alan Alda’s brilliantly smarmy turn as the Bernie Madoff type who’s getting robbed, and has been pointed out elsewhere it’s fantastic to see Matthew Broderick in a movie with a classic Ferrari again!
Overall, Tower Heist is good fun. Far from the funniest or most exciting movie you’ll see this year but there is plenty going for it and you probably know what to expect going in. If that sort of thing appeals, you’ll really enjoy it.

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