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Tower Heist

Went and saw Tower Heist last night.  Not a bad little film, and I enjoyed it more than I expected.

I thought it was a little slow to set up, but after that it moved along quite nicely.  There were clearly some scenes that got cut that showed the thieves recruiting a few more of the employees of this N.Y. posh apartment building, but I filled in the blanks without any trouble.  One last point, they didn’t adequately explain Eddie Murphy’s character turn where he went from trying to swindle his fellow thieves to actually being with the program.

What they did well was set up and pay off every beat that was established in the beginning of the film.  The Hangover did that very well too.  It was also a good cast, controlled and often nuanced.  Even Eddie Murphy didn’t chew every bit of scenery.

What surprised me was the seriousness of the movie.  With Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy I had expected a belly laugh kind of movie, but that wasn’t the case.  It was a fairly serious and very emotional look at the plight of people who trust their life savings to a Madoff-like figure (Alan Alda).  Of course their solution is pure Hollywood, but it was fun, and satisfying to see the villain brought low.

Another thing that I liked.  They didn’t make the movie about the gadgets and gimmicks of the heist.  They give me a few iconic scenes where they case the security, and look at floor plans, but it’s not Ocean’s 11.  They focused on the people and their relationships, and oddly enough Matthew Broderick had the funniest lines in the film.

They also didn’t make the F.B.I. agents assholes or idiots.  They’re working stiffs who hate the swindler as much as the employees at this building who were swindled, and Tea Leoni was very appealing as the Special Agent In Charge.

They also surprised me with the outcome for our hero, Ben Stiller.  They made a choice that you don’t often see in a film.

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