Tower Heist (2011)

Rated R. Our Ratings: V-4 ;L -5 ; S/N –1. Running time: 1 hour 40 min.

Wall Street titan Arthur Shaw and Tower Manager Josh Kovacs.

20011 Universal Studios

Why do you boast, O mighty one,

of mischief done against the godly?

All day long2 you are plotting destruction.

Your tongue is like a sharp razor,

you worker of treachery.

You love evil more than good,

and lying more than speaking the truth.

You love all words that devour,

O deceitful tongue.

But God will break you down forever;

he will snatch and tear you from your tent;

he will uproot you from the land of the living.

The righteous will see, and fear,

and will laugh at the evildoer, saying,

“See the one who would not take

refuge in God, but trusted in abundant riches,

and sought refuge in wealth!

Psalm 52:1-6

Here is another film that Occupy Wall Street and Bernie Madoff victims might embrace, so timely is its

plot. Ben Stiller is Josh Kovacs, General Manager of the Tower, a ritzy Manhattan residential building

where the average condo costs over $5 million. Somewhat like a juggler, his talent is tending to the many needs of its demanding residents while keeping a close eye on the staff. He moves deftly from interviewing job applicant Enrique (Michael Pena) to trying to talk bankrupt Wall Street trader Fitzhugh (Matthew Broderick) into vacating his apartment now in foreclosure. It is a good measure of his character that Josh gives in to Fitzhugh’s pleas and agrees to stall the bank for a while longer. Back in the lobby Josh scolds the concierge Charlie (Casey Affleck) for talking on the phone too often with his pregnant wife. And there is the friendly doorman Lester (Stephen McKinley Henderson) who tells him that he will be retiring soon

Of all the tenants it is Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda) to whom Josh feels closest. He is the richest resident in the Tower, occupying the top floor with its large swimming pool with the image of a dollar bill painted on the bottom. The friendly trader has so taken in the Josh that the latter has convinced the board of managers to invest the employees’ pension funds with Shaw. Lester has gone one better by entrusting all of his $73 thousand savings to Shaw. Thus when an FBI team, headed by Claire Denham (Tea Leoni), leads the trader away in handcuffs, Josh is shocked to learn that the investor has spirited all of their money away without a trace.

Under guard, the schemer returns to the Tower confined to his apartment. He tells the upset Josh, “You people are working stiffs, clock-punchers. Easily replaced.” Josh vows, “I don’t care what it takes. I will find a way to make it right.” He is especially angry because the despairing Lester has tried to commit suicide. Thus he concocts an elaborate scheme involving the staff and a thief named Slide (Eddie Murphy) whom he has casually met on the street.

Director Brett Ratner’s caper takes place during the annual Macey Thanksgiving Parade, so there are lots of colorful scenes, suspense as the amateur thieves are betrayed by their mentor, and, while Shaw and his FBI guards have been lured away, the attempt to remove from the apartment the crook’s prize red Ferrari, which proves to be far more valuable than its Blue Book price. Alda is great since his M*A*S*H days at playing sophisticated but sleazy characters, the Psalmist’s words describing him well. Thus the fun in this comedy caper is seeing how Josh and his crew will cut him down to size. Like the prophets and the psalmists this film takes the part of the lowly against the high and mighty.

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