2011 Certificate: 12


Ben Stiller leads a groups of regular guys who discover they've been ripped off by a scheming Wall Street businessman (Alan Alda) by a dodgy "Ponzi" scheme. Undaunted, they plan to rob his high-rise apartment... even though he's under house arrest. Director Brett Ratner recruits a crack comedy team - including something of a comeback for Eddie Murphy - for this slick heist romp.


  • Brett Ratner


  • Ben Stiller

  • Eddie Murphy

  • Alan Alda

  • Tea Leoni

  • Matthew Broderick


While X-Men: The Last Stand, Red Dragon, and the Rush Hour trilogy all performed amiably at the box office, it's been a bumpy critical ride for music video turned movie director Brett Ratner.

Lacking both the enjoyably stupid pomposity of his action director peers, and the deft character-focused touch of his dramatic ones, expectations weren't necessarily Tower block high for his latest comedy caper.

But with Tower Heist, Ratner seems to have pulled off his own cinematic crime of the century, crafting a solid, entertaining and surprisingly tight heist romp that just about manages to steal away expectations.

Set oh so timely in the wake of the recession, the heist in question comes about after the dodgy dealings of a skyrise-dwelling Wall Street businessman reduces the retirement funds of the tower's hard-working employees to ash.

Building Manager Josh Kovacs (Stiller) gives the banker the benefit of the doubt until the reality of the situation and the effect it's had on his colleagues and friends hits home in sombre style, prompting the once-do-gooder to lose his cool, all but demand his P45 and plan an audacious smash and grab that could solve all their problems combined.

What begins as a fluffy throwaway comedy swiftly repurposes itself as a comedy drama with an affecting catalytic moment that spurs Stiller on to form a ragtag crime team and strike a blow for the little man everywhere.

The hodgepodge cast is also satisfying adept, with Stiller, Affleck and Leoni playing it relatively straight, and Broderick and Sidibe (weirdly wonky Jamaican accent aside) bringing a comedic cartoonism to the fore.

It's also Murphy's best role in ages, offsetting his traditional loud lunatic schtick in the movie's first half with a character twist that reminds you once upon time there was an engaging actor beneath the grating comedy voices.

Ratner finally, thankfully, proves he understands pacing, ensuring the build-up to the big job is as entertaining as the attempt, and throws in just enough ridiculous complications and solutions to keep you guessing the whole way through.

It may lack the glamour of Ocean's Eleven, the cleverness of The Usual Suspects, and the grittiness of The Town, but when it comes to enjoyable popcorn fodder, Tower Heist just does what it sets out to do - and pulls off the big job of making Ratner relevant again.