There should be some sort of rule that movies with a cast like this have to be great. Sadly, there’s no such rule and no such luck. Tower Heist is a curious film with a few interesting moments, fewer laughs and a lot of misfires.
Ben Stiller plays the lead and he’s terribly miscast here playing against his normal victim role that he’s so flawlessly perfected. He must be tired of those roles at this point but he’s just so good at them. It’s not that he’s unlikable or does a bad job. It’s just that he feels wrong in virtually every scene.
One major bright spot is the always-reliably Alan Alda who plays the antagonist and does so flawlessly. Alda really should get more recognition than he does. His years on M*A*S*H* seem to have seriously limited his gravitas and that’s a shame. It’s hard to think of him in a bad role.
Eddie Murphy is also back and plays what feels like an older, more cynical version of his character from Trading Places. What’s funny is how much he still looks the same all these years later. The only problem for him is that the actions of his character leave him looking entirely ridiculous at about the mid-point on.
We also get a solid performance from Matthew Broderick. However, that’s where things go astray without the stars themselves being responsible Casey Affleck, Judge Hirsh, Gabourey Sidibe (of Precious fame) and Teo Leoni are all here but all of them are far better than the material given them. Leoni specifically lights up the screen in every scene she’s in and I haven’t previously been a big fan of hers. Sidibe is quite lovable and wickedly funny but almost an afterthought.
The biggest problem with the film is the story. It just isn’t believable at any level and feels like a bad TV episode. All of it is simply ludicrous from the word go. There are some laughs but nothing really all that memorable. I wouldn’t call it a total waste of time if only for the collection of great talent here but that’s the best thing I can say about it.