The Weight Of Gold And Other Tower Heist Logic Fails

By Josh Tyler 2011-11-05 01:05:28discussion comments
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Let’s get this out of the way right now. I liked Tower Heist. I liked it a lot. Eddie Murphy, while not in the movie nearly enough, is better than he’s been in at least a decade. Every second he’s on screen is solid gold (more on that in a minute). The rest of the film’s pretty good too. Director Brett Ratner takes his time to develop his characters and set up their situation, never rushing it. Say what you want about the guy but he knows how to make a movie look good. The result is a criminally fun moviegoing experience. We even put together a list of a few reasons why this movie's so much fun right here. If you see it, you’ll enjoy it… as long as you don’t think about it.

See, for as much fun as Tower Heist is, it has a problem. A really big problem. Brett Ratner is good at a lot of things, but one of the things he’s worst at is paying attention to the little details. And in a heist movie, the devil’s in the details. After you see it, come back here, because you’ll want to discuss them all. Tower Heist is a mess of ridiculous logic gaps. Here are a few of the worst ones we spotted.


WARNING! SPOILERS! This will be a spoiler intensive discussion of the movie Tower Heist. If you don’t want to know, stop reading right now!

Go no further if you don't want spoilers. You’ve been warned.


How heavy is a gold Ferrari? It depends on if the car were actually solid gold, as the movie seems to suggest. The car in question is a 1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso, which when not made of gold, weighs around 3500lbs. Gold is much heavier than steel, though. Replace all the metal with gold and you’d have a car weighing over 10,000lbs. An elevator can only hold around 6,000lbs… at best. And a window washer lifts more like 1,000lbs. A human (like the ones lugging it around)… far less. Except, well, maybe it wasn’t actually all gold. At one point in the film a character values the car at $45 million and in 2010 (around when they came up with the script) gold prices $45 million in gold would only weigh around 2800lbs. Yet even that’s probably way more than they could have handled. Bottom line, nothing about any of this makes much sense.

Seriously, how are they moving this car around? Forget the actual weight of the Ferrari, assuming they can actually lift it around at all, nothing they’re doing with it makes much sense. They get it outside with a window washer platform, and then instead of lowering it straight down to the ground for some reason decide to swing it back inside the building and take it down on the elevator. Even weirder, somehow off camera they magically manage to do the whole thing over again in reverse, raising the car back up to the roof and putting it in a swimming pool, in the time it takes for an elderly doorman to drive around the block in a stolen moving van. To get it back up to the roof they’d have to take the elevator back up, send at least one person shimmying UP the window washer rope to the Penthouse (they can’t go in the front door the FBI’s there) somehow hook the car on to the cable, raise it up, wrestle it into the penthouse, wheel it to the pool, sink it in the pool, cover the pool and get back out again by shimmying down the rope (dangling hundreds of feet in the air) to another floor.

How did Eddie Murphy plan to get past the FBI? Eddie Murphy goes rogue in Tower Heist and decides to ditch his friends and break into the penthouse ahead of them. His plan seems simple and sensible until you consider there’s an FBI officer guarding the only way in with a gun. Eddie knows this but doesn’t seem to have come up with a way to get past him, and in fact only gets in to the penthouse at all because Ben Stiller goes ahead with his plan and clears the way for him. Seriously Eddie, what was the plan? Shootout at the OK Corral?

Why does Casey Affleck switch sides? At one point in the film Casey Affleck turns on everyone and vows that if they break into the Tower he’ll stop them. He gets his chance, when he finds Matthew Broderick hanging from a ledge next to the stolen car. He responds by… changing sides yet again… for no discernable reason. All he had to do was haul Broderick in and call security, but instead he jumps in and joins the gang. If that was his plan, he could have let them know from the start since his job as the Tower’s manager probably would have made the whole thing a lot easier.

How do you fake a court order? One of the most pivotal parts of Ben Stiller’s heist plot in the film involves getting their billionaire victim out of his penthouse. He does this by faking a court order, instructing the FBI to bring him downtown on Thanksgiving for a consultation. Except, Ben Stiller’s character is just some unemployed building manager. Tower Heist never bothers to explain how he pulls this off, beyond a “yes it worked!” when this magical bit of convenience actually happens. Huh?

Ben Stiller’s character is kind of rich too. Tower Heist portrays Stiller’s character as though he’s living in the ghetto. Eddie Murphy, playing some sort of lowlife thief, lives next door and insults him as he walks to work. It’s not a good neighborhood. Except… Stiller’s character is the building manager for the most elite living facility in the most elite neighborhood in New York City. He’d make significantly more than a doorman or a maid. In fact, while maybe not a millionaire, the guy would have to be pulling down a salary somewhere in the low to mid-six figures. He can do better than a crummy rental next door to some abusive hustler and he definitely doesn’t need to drive around in an aging, ugly Chevy Nova. He probably should have just loaned Lester the money he lost, and skipped all that jail time.


Keep the list going! Discuss and debate these plot oddities below, or add a few of your own!
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