Family Movie Night
By Karyn Bowman
Every now and again, I get surprised by a movie.
Like other movie goers, I read the reviews and listen to what other people have to say. I read boards on movie websites and try to get an idea about a movie before I see it.
So when the husband picked up Tower Heist over the weekend, I was not expecting much. The reviews were poor and some people wondered out loud if Ben Stiller had lost his way.
But that is not what I thought about the movie after I watched it.
Perhaps it was the revenge factor but I was entertained by this movie.
The story is about a building manager of a prestigious building that offers house cleaning and food service to its residents. The Ben Stiller character is close to several of the residents, including Alan Alda who lives in the penthouse.
But when that man, who was trusted with the pension funds of the workers in the building, is arrested for taking his clients’ money and not investing it, well, our building manager goes a little crazy. Especially after one of Stiller’s best employees tries to commit suicide once he realizes his entire nest egg is gone.
Stiller might go up to the man’s apartment with a couple of staff members and bust out the windows of a classic car that sits in the living room. While his actions inspire his staff and Tea Leoni, the lead FBI agent on the case, his boss fires the long time employee. But a comment from Leoni makes Stiller realize he knows where the ‘escape’ money is located. And that is when the building manager begins the plan to get the money back for his workers.
One of the complaints about this movie is you see everything that is coming. Director Brett Ratner is not trying to make a groundbreaking movie; his goal is to make a movie that the family can enjoy in the PG-13 area while giving parents a reason to cheer as another greedy financier gets taken down.
It is popcorn viewing at best with Eddie Murphy getting off some of the best lines.
Is this the best heist movie I have ever seen?
Not really. Tower Heist was fun with an element or two I never expected. However, the Ocean movies, starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt, have more style to them. I also like Heist starring Gene Hackman, Rebecca Pigeon, and Sam Rockwell which was written by David Mamet.
But the movie you want to see is the classic 1968 Steve McQueen movie, The Thomas Crown Affair in which McQueen plays a millionaire thief. Faye Dunaway is the detective on his case and she gets very close to her suspect. It is perhaps one of the best heist movies.
As for a kid/family movie in the same ‘heist’ genre, the one that comes to mind is Monster House in which three kids figure out the creepy Victorian house across the street is alive. And if they have any hope of finding the multitudes of lost toy and people, drastic action might have to take place. This movie might be a little too scary for the littlest kids but it is great for those who have just started grade school.
Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.