I may be one of the only movie critics to openly say this, but I actually like Brett Ratner’s films, and Tower Heist is a pretty good one. It’s no Rush Hour 1-3, but really, what is?
Brett Ratner gets a lot of flak. Sure, in his personal life, he deserves it. His homophobic comments are unacceptable and tweeting box office dividends for a movie many people loathed (http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Brett-Ratner-Tweets-Box-Office-Numbers-In-Defense-Of-X-Men-3-25076.html) is beyond petty. But movie-wise, I find his films inoffensive at worst and pretty damn enjoyable at best. Look, he’s no Steven Spielberg, but he’s no Michael Bay, either. He makes fun, mindless action films and he does a decent job at it. He’s much better than people say.
Tower Heist is proof of that. Though it doesn’t have the frequent humor of his Rush Hour series, or even the, let’s just call it "loud," action sequences of X-Men: The Last Stand, it still has a charm factor of its own. It’s all held up by a relevant backdrop of the haves and the have nots. It’s not exactly the voice of Occupy Wall Street, but it’s an enjoyable enough romp where the bad guy gets his and the good guys are victorious. Plus, it’s the best movie Eddie Murphy’s been in since the mid '90s, and that’s saying something, right?
The story revolves around a group of hard-working employees at a luxurious condo tower who get screwed over by their boss and decide to take back what’s theirs. It’s wish-fulfillment for the modern age. Alan Alda plays a charming but deceitful Wall Street cat who screws over his employees by taking all their money. Ben Stiller is the guy who leads his crew to get back at the scumbag. It’s a predictable enough story, but Ratner pulls it off with a list of likeable stars. Eddie Murphy, while not The Golden Child hilarious, is back in fine form. He has a lot of great moments. Mathew Broderick, with his Ferris-Bueller-plus-30-years face, makes his character believable enough that you care about him. And Gabourey Sidibe, who will forever, unfortunately, be known as Precious, is great as a Jamaican maid.
In fact, out of the whole cast, I’d have to say Ben Stiller is the only sour note. He makes a fine enough straight man, which I guess is the whole point, but when the craziness starts going down, he’s the only one who really seems out of place, and that’s a shame. It dampens an extravagant finale. I mean, there’s a harrowing scene near the end where a beautiful car dangles out a window from a great height. It’s actually pretty nerve-racking, and Ben Stiller kind of ruins that feeling of suspense somehow. But oh well, it’s a good enough film and a nice little addition to Ratner’s resume. See it, even if you hate the Rat. It’s pretty good.
How are the special features? Well, they’re good and they’re bad. On the front of the box, it advertises how there are two alternate endings, but they’re not even worth mentioning. They’re both, like, less than a minute long. They’re pathetic and were rightfully cut. The “Deleted/Alternate Scenes,” just like the missing endings, are worthless too. Why are they even here?
The “Gag Reel,” like all gag reels, isn’t funny, and a segment called “Brett Ratner’s Video Diary” just goes on and on and on. “Plotting Tower Heist” is actually pretty interesting though, because it features a celebratory love-fest between Brett Ratner and producer/long-time friend Brian Grazer, who looks spaced out as always. It also reveals that the movie actually started out as an idea by Eddie Murphy as a black ensemble piece, which is kind of interesting. I might have wanted to see that.
Last but not least is the commentary, which features Brett Ratner, an editor, and the movie’s co-writers. It’s the best special feature on here. The discussions travel all over the place, from the origins of the story, to wind direction in a shot, to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I know it’s not cool to like Ratner and all, but he seems like a pretty interesting guy, and I wouldn’t mind hanging out with him. I’d just nudge him in the side if he ever started making rude remarks.