It goes without saying that Brett Ratner is an awful director. With a blatant disregard for artistic integrity and little passion injected into anything that he does, anyone with a love of cinema knows to avoid his films like a fatal disease.
But while his latest release Tower Heist is far from being a brilliant or flawless film by any means, it’s certainly much better than one would usually expect from the film-maker.
A heist film in the style of Oceans Eleven, the story follows a group of hard-working hotel employees who discover that they have lost their pensions (and in some cases life-savings) when the building’s wealthy owner, Arthur Shaw, is accused of fraud. Placed under house arrest with $20 million unaccounted for, the workers decide to rob back what’s rightfully theirs and devise a plan to break into his heavily guarded penthouse suite at the top of the hotel.
This topical crime caper is a slow starter with the writers and director unable to find a balance between setting the scene and maintaining the entertainment. For much of its opening act, the gags are few and far between, the action is nowhere to be seen and suspense is almost non-existent.
But once the group begins to plan and implement their crime the film takes flight. Playing out against a colourful Thanksgiving Day Parade backdrop, Ratner offers plenty of spectacle while the script is constantly presenting twists at every corner alongside some genuinely funny comedic moments.
Most of the humour is a result of its brilliant cast – including Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Casey Affleck and Ferris Buller himself Matthew Broderick – who are so likeable and watchable that they make their characters’ romp a pleasure to consume.
The only weak link in the ensemble is the Oscar nominated star of Precious, Gabourey Sidibe, whose Jamaican accent- yes, you heard me, Precious doing a Jamaican accent – is so awkward and unnecessary that it makes her stand out like a white guy at a Chris Rock show.
Sure, most of the jokes will be forgotten by the time you leave your seat, the story is riddled with cliché, plot holes arise at every turn and it never manages to become anything more than your typical Blockbuster crime comedy. However, it undeniably does what it sets out to do to a good standard. Therefore, it makes for an enjoyable piece of escapism and a surefire crowd-pleaser.