By Gary Newman, Special to the Chronicle
Brett Ratner's Tower Heist brought me back to the old days of comedy. A time when it wasn't all about someone smoking massive amounts of weed to make the situations funny. The cast included comedy all stars Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy and Matthew Broderick. I'll admit, going into this movie I was nervous because of the high expectations I have of these actors. The movie definitely provided the laughs I hoped for.
Josh Kovaks (Ben Stiller) is a tightly wired general manager of the Tower apartment building. Everything is going great until wealthy apartment owner Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda) gets exposed for fraud by FBI special agent Claire Denham (Tea Leoni). When the money he invested in the tower no longer exists, the employees realize they no longer will have a pension. Stiller then teams up with his lackluster team to get the money they need to protect the employees of the Tower.
The best comeback actor in the movie was Matthew Broderick. Broderick plays Mr. Fitzhugh, a poor helpless man who is going to be evicted from his tower apartment. Many believed this film to be Eddie Murphy's comeback, but Matthew Broderick provided the most humor. His desperate attempts to make sense of his failures while trying to help steal millions of dollars gave Broderick a lot to work with and he captured it brilliantly and hysterically.
Eddie Murphy plays Slide, a sad excuse of a robber who teaches the inexperienced robbers the tricks of the trade. Murphy definitely showed glimpses of his past in Tower Heist. It was great to see him reach back to his roots from the 80's as the smartass everyone falls in love with. The only thing missing was his flat top, which I have been dying to see again.
The supporting characters added to an already star heavy cast. Casey Affleck plays Charlie, Josh's brother in-law caught between his need for a job and money and following Josh on his quest for good. Stephen McKinley Henderson who plays Lester was an extremely lovable character that provided heart-wrenching moments along with antics the audience couldn't help but giggle at. Then add Michael Pena and Gabourey Sidibe to complete the mix and the dream comedy team is complete. Tower Heist is a great combination of hysterical moments and the extents people will go to help those they care about and battle against the greedy, self-centered snobs at the top of our society. It is the can't miss comedy of the fall season.