Honey, I Forgot the Ending

Tower Heist: written by Ted Griffin, Jeff Nathanson, Adam Cooper, and Bill Collage; directed by Brett Ratner; starring Ben Stiller (Kovaks), Eddie Murphy (Slide), Casey Affleck (Charlie), Alan Alda (Arthur Shaw), Matthew Broderick (Mr. Fitzhugh), Tea Leoni (Special Agent Claire Denham), and Gabourey Sidibe (Odessa) (2011): Mildly amusing heist comedy which seems to have undergone so many rewrites that they forgot to include an actual ending. Seriously. It’s as if they left the final reel out of the movie.

The major setpiece involves shenanigans with a car, a penthouse, and a bunch of guys trying to lower said car from one floor to another. It’s actually pretty funny. There are other sparks throughout, most of them supplied by Matthew Broderick. Ben Stiller gets to play someone who isn’t a jittery nebbish for once, and that’s also a plus. Stiller’s romantic subplot goes nowhere — victim of that lost final reel, perhaps. Eddie Murphy riffs on his old Trading Places persona, to only intermittent comic effect.

It’s a Brett Ratner movie. One really can’t expect too much, and it’s at least better than X-Men: The Last Stand. And Alan Alda is surprisingly evil as a Bernie Madoff-like investment banker. Lightly recommended.

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