In Tower Heist, Ben Stiller plays Josh, the manager of one of those opulent Trump Towers-y residential buildings in New York. He prides himself on running a slick and efficient team (all star cast here) that attends to the pampered needs of others. One of those others, the owner of the penthouse suite, is a Bernie Madoff kind of weasel, who’s stolen billions – including, as it turns out, the pensions of all the workers in his building. Thus begins a slick, well-rounded crime caper, as the hapless good guys bumble about trying to steal their life savings from the safe that’s hidden somewhere on the top floor.
So far so good? Well, on paper, yes. Tea Leoni’s in it, love her. The cast is uniformly excellent (except that Jamaican accent – what?) And the New York locations – the tower is an amalgam of a number of actual Trump properties, the exteriors include the actual Trump Tower – are always good to see. Must’ve been fun coordinating a shoot around a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. But I have to say, the decision to veer away from an Oceans 11-style crime yarn and turn towards a group of blue collar folk gaining their revenge on a corrupt one percenter actually felt like a bit of a downer. Being reminded of just how many folks have been flattened by Wall Street misdeeds doesn’t encourage suspension of disbelief and engagement in lighthearted banter to be honest.