Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tower Heist

is one of those movies that you can enjoy as long as you never engage your brain and just go along for the ride. If you think at all about it, however, you will be sorry.

The trailer tells you the whole basic story: nasty Wall Street trader steals gazillions of dollars from unsuspecting clients, a group that includes the staff of the luxury apartment building where he lives. One of them (Stiller) decides to assemble a team to steal back their money. It's a decent structure for a story.

The cast is full of good actors delivering good performances. I particularly like Alan Alda playing a bad guy; his normally smarmy nature works extremely well when he's saying evil things. The only actor whose performance was, as always, a vast empty sucking void of nothingness was Tea Leoni. I have never understood her appeal, nor can I recall a decent performance from her.

The problem with the movie is that it can't decide whether to fully embrace its unrealistic nature. Consequently, it alternates scenes of real people facing real issues with those of completely impossible action. The result is jarring, with the ending being the very most troubling part of the movie. I won't give the spoiler here, but suffice to say that after embracing its fantasy side for almost the entire last half hour, the film suddenly decides to hand us a token bit of realism at the last moment.

It's a huge mistake. The film should have stuck to it unrealistic roots and embraced them fully and unashamedly.

Still, I had a pleasant enough time watching it on a night after a good meal. I just can't recommend it unless you're jonesing for a movie, are in need of something mindless, and have a couple of hours to kill.

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