After stretching the truth on a deal with a spiritual guru, literary agent Jack McCall finds a Bodhi tree on his property. Its appearance holds a valuable lesson on the consequences of every word we speak.
Two salesmen whose careers have been torpedoed by the digital age find their way into a coveted internship at Google, where they must compete with a group of young, tech-savvy geniuses for a shot at employment.
Josh Kovaks is the manager of a high-rise condominium in New York. He is close to all the tenants, especially financier Arthur Shaw. One day Shaw is arrested by the FBI for fraud. Josh thinks it's a misunderstanding that can be resolved, but later he learns that the employees' pension fund - which he asked Shaw to handle - is gone. When one of the employees tries to kill himself, Josh's views of Shaw change. He goes to see him and loses his temper, and his job. The FBI agent in charge tells him that Shaw might walk, and recovering the pension fund is unlikely. She tells him that it's been rumored that Shaw has $20 million lying around if he needs it in a hurry. Josh thinks he knows where it is, so with two other fired employees and an evicted tenant, they set out to get into Shaw's penthouse to get the money. But they realize they need the assistance of someone who knows how to steal, so Josh asks an old acquaintance named Slide who he knows is a thief to help them. Written by
The 1912 chess game Shaw (Alan Alda) references while talking to Kovacs (Ben Stiller) is a real game. However, rather than playing it out, Levitsky resigned after Marshall moved his queen, realizing checkmate was inevitable. The "Marshall Swindle" term did not derive solely from that game, as it was a well known tactic of Frank Marshall's to often play a game in a lazy or relaxed style that ceded his opponent the advantage. Just when he appeared to be in a totally lost position, he would summon up a marvelous tactical flight of fancy to smash his unaware opponent. Some of his defeated and frustrated opponents, believing that they had a moral right to the victory after having established decisive advantage, felt that Marshall had cheated them out of their just desserts often complained that they had been "swindled". A well known "Marshall Swindle" occurred in a game between Marshall and Georg Marco in 1904. See more »
When Odessa arrives on Shaw's floor, she attempts to bribe the stationed FBI agent with a slice of drugged cake, which he rejects, saying that he's allergic to chocolate. This should not have been an issue, considering the cake offered was carrot cake. See more »
Today I teach you how to pick a lock with a bobby pin! Here's your bobby pin, here's your bobby pin, and here's your punk-ass bobby pin! You unlock the door, or you gonna freeze to death! I'm gonna be inside having sex wih Rita!
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Everyone's excited for the new Brett Ratner movie, right? Jonesing for another marginal action-comedy in the vein of Rush Hour 2? You're in luck! Tower Heist fits the bill, and despite its allusions to 2011 Wall Street turmoil, the familiar flick feels very much of that era. The Rat-man's latest is cookie-cutter entertainment at its most transient, but everyone likes cookies. Right?
In Tower Heist, Ben Stiller plays subservient chief of staff at a ritzy Central Park apartment complex but when a tenant (Alan Alda) swindles him and his workforce out of their pensions, it's no more Mr. Nice Josh. He masterminds a robbery with the help of his concierge (Casey Affleck), an elevator operator (Michael Peña), a downtrodden former resident (Matthew Broderick), and a Jamaican cleaning woman (Gabourey Sidibe). Unschooled as they are in the art of the steal, Josh also employs the aid of petty criminal "Slide," (Eddie Murphy) who gives the crew a crash course in crime.
The cast of Tower Heist, anchored by Stiller, Alda, and the under-appreciated 'other' Affleck, is its greatest asset. Gabourey Sidibe pulls a Melissa McCarthy in a similar big girl supporting role, and as for Eddie Murphy it's good to know that there's still a funny guy beneath the Norbit prosthetics. Granted, nobody's working with AAA material here, but their comic chemistry makes for some laugh out loud moments.
Conceived and written by Ted Griffin of Ocean's Eleven and Matchstick Men, Tower Heist strictly adheres to caper convention. Assemble the team, unfurl the plan, set said plan into motion, and wait for it all to come undone. It's a tried and true formula, which is ironic considering the risk its characters incur. There's even a heavy-handed chess metaphor about sacrificing one's Queen, but Griffin is a decidedly defensive player.
Then there's the Rat-factor. Poor Brett's an easy guy to hate. Called "Hollywood's Ad Impresario" by Businessweek, he's the dude who wants to make a Guitar Hero movie. He's a purely commercial filmmaker who's helmed competent but inferior follow-ups to beloved franchises like X-Men and Silence of the Lambs. And let's face it, he's kind of ugly. With Tower Heist, the director isn't flexing any artistic muscles, but he's got the mechanics down pat.
Plus, he's got the good sense to hire performers who probably don't need much direction. Guys like Stiller, Murphy, and Broderick are so well practiced that they're entertaining even when they're resting on their laurels. Similarly, Ratner's worked with cinematographer Dante Spinotti enough times to not have to concern himself with the visual aspects of filmmaking. Though the credits suggest otherwise, Ratner's role is nearer to producer than director.
Consequently, Tower Heist feels impersonal and even a bit disingenuous. After all, what could Brett Ratner, the privileged son of a Miami socialite turned blockbuster director, have in common with the working stiffs he portrays? It's easy to hate Ratner, but unfair to channel that negative energy at his work. With a good cast and decent material, Tower Heist is an amusing, inconsequential diversion that entertains and evaporates in the span of 100 minutes. And with a family friendly PG-13 rating, this cookie-cutter action-comedy is poised to make loads of dough.
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