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Robbery in Progress

3 Nov

If Law & Order, with its ripped-from-the-headlines plotlines, was ever made into a movie, it might be a bit like Tower Heist. The film tells the story of a bunch of luxury residence employees who plot to steal from the Bernie Madoff–like jerk who has defrauded them and left them without pensions. No doubt, the film will be like a wish-fulfillment fantasy for so many moviegoers. But here’s my wish: I wish Tower Heist was a better, funnier movie. After all, the cast is top-lined by Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy, and it also includes Casey Affleck (no stranger to funny heist films, having been in all three of the Oceans movies), Matthew Broderick, and Alan Alda.

Actually, if you want to see a robbery, then this is the movie you want to see, because it’s Gabourey Sidibe (yes, Precious herself) who steals the thing right out from under Stiller, Murphy, et al. Playing a Jamaican cleaning woman, Sidibe delivers her lines with perfect deadpan and impressive comic timing. She’s a hoot. What a difference a couple years makes in her choice of big screen roles.

Tower Heist does have its moments — the plan comes together and is impressively staged during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade — but the whole thing is far-fetched, even for someone like me who can typically suspend his disbelief pretty easily. Put simply: I expected more from the film overall. Like Madoff’s victims (though to a much much much smaller degree), you may feel defrauded too. I’m giving Tower Heist a B–.

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