I’ll set the scene for you: it was a dark and stormy Saturday night. OK, I don’t know if it was raining, but it was the Saturday of the last weekend of spring break and no one was on campus. Thus, it was a perfect night for a movie. I was tired after a long day of flying on airplanes, and I really just wanted a throwaway, lowest-common-denominator type of film. Something that was pure entertainment and would just make me smile. Laughing wasn’t even necessary.
“Tower Heist,” surprisingly, filled my need quite nicely. Perhaps my exceptionally low expectations are making my enthusiasm a great deal larger than it actually is, though. This isn’t a movie I intend to ever watch again, but for the one time I did watch it, the ride was decently enjoyable. Which is really all I could have wanted from the movie.
Sure, the humor is sophomoric and stupid, and it’s a far cry from Ben Stiller’s “There’s Something About Mary,” Eddie Murphy’s “Beverly Hills Cop,” or Matthew Broderick’s “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” But this Occupy-esque comedy does manage to deliver a few small satisfactions. It’s a particularly great time watching Murphy, who seems alive for the first time since “Dreamgirls.”
As a con man brought in by the staff of a hotel to execute a “Mission: Impossible” type plan to rob their über-one percenter boss (Alan Alda as a thinly veiled Bernie Madoff caricature), Murphy has the best lines and the best moments. You might even see a flash of Axel Foley peeking out from behind the levels of Hollywood hardness. Go back to the classic comedy if you want the real deal, but “Tower Heist” will do for the moment if you’re folding laundry and it happens to be on Cinemax. B- /