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Tower Heist / Rated PG-13 for language and minor violence.

Tower Heist opened in theaters on November 4th. One national theater chain declined to book the film because the studio decided to make this film available on demand for download and viewing at home within three weeks of its release. By the time you are reading this review you may be able to turn on the TV and watch the film at home. I couldn’t bear the suspense so went to the theater.

At it turns out TH is not a great “heist” genre film but it’s pretty good entertainment. Director Brett Ratner keeps the stars acting, not hamming it up, and the story is well presented. Eddie Murphy, who plays the only real small time crook, does have most of the best lines and many Eddie Murphyisms make it on screen. Alan Alda is the other crook in the film but he is definitely not small time. He is Bernie Madoff under a different name.

Ben Stiller manages the building where AA resides in the penthouse apartment and is good at his job. Casey Affleck and Michael Pena are also employees as is Gabourey Sidibe (recent Academy nominee for Precious etc.). They all lose their money as AA manages the bogus company that invests their pensions but steals all the money for himself.

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They all get involved with a plan to get their money back by robbing lots of cash hidden in AA’s apartment. Matthew Broderick joins the bandits as a milquetoast former honest investment banker who lost all his money and his job when the markets collapsed.

Eddie M. becomes an advisor and abettor who wants a piece of the action. When the action gets moving after the 30 minute set up (basically the same as in the previews) it turns out to be a lot of fun, although it eventually turns into the most unbelievable heist caper ever filmed, except for the original release of Gambit (1966) with Michael Caine and Shirley Maclaine. Gambit is being remade for release in 2012 with Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz. Also in the remake are Stanley Tucci, Alan Rickman and Cloris Leachman, who will be 86 by the time the movie is released. Apparently not tired yet, she has 3 more films in pre-production. The remake may be available on demand at home this week, even though still in theaters. Release date has not been set.

I can’t really say much about the storyline of TH. You will have to go to the theater or wait a couple of weeks and watch it on TV. The Tower in the film is the Trump Tower in NYC. The actors are all real. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

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