This weekend, a movie starring Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy that will make absolutely no sense to sentient creatures is being released into theaters. This movie has been named 'Tower Heist.' 'Tower Heist' is about an apartment tower where a heist takes place, so at least the title makes sense. But that's it. Nothing else makes sense. As a service, here is an answer to every question that you could have about 'Tower Heist.'
Q: What would have been a better title for 'Tower Heist'?
A: Perhaps 'A Very Confusing and Very Improbable Heist.'
Q: What actually is being heisted in 'Tower Heist'?
A: Twenty million dollars that Alan Alda's character might have hidden in a safe, that may or may not be hidden in a wall in his penthouse apartment.
Q: Are those his 'M*A*S*H' residuals?
A: No. Alda plays Arthur Shaw, a Wall Street tycoon who is arrested for some sort of fraud that's never quite explained. Shaw also owns a residential tower on Manhattan's Upper West Side. (He probably didn't own the tower, it was hard to tell. He did make a hire, however. I thought he owned it.)
Q: Who is trying to steal Arthur's money that may or may not be in his penthouse apartment?
A: Josh, the manager of the apartment building. Josh, played by Ben Stiller, is fired after reacting emotionally to the discovery that Arthur has lost all of the tower employees' pensions. Josh then devises a plan to steal the money back.
Q: Does Josh act alone?
A: No. Josh recruits the also-fired Charlie (Casey Affleck), the also-fired Enrique (Michael Pena), the laid-off broker and soon-to-be-evicted tenant Mr. Fitzhugh (Matthew Broderick), the still-employed Odessa (Gabourey Sidibe), and a lifelong criminal named Slide (Eddie Murphy).
Q: When does the group plan to execute the heist?
A: The heist is scheduled on the same day as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Q: Last December, a month after the real Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, did you by chance happen to stumble upon the set of Tower Heist and take a picture of a fake float with your phone?
Q: Oh, wait, this sounds kind of like 'Oceans 11'?
A: 'Tower Heist" would be exactly like 'Oceans 11' if Brett Ratner had also directed 'Oceans 11.'
Q: Will I laugh during 'Tower Heist'?
A: Yes. Quite a bit, actually.
Q: How is Eddie Murphy's performance in 'Tower Heist'?
A: Eddie Murphy channels the Eddie Murphy who starred in 'Trading Places' and 'Beverly Hills Cop' for his performance as Slide. Brett Ratner, who is a huge fan of 1980s Eddie Murphy, no doubt had a lot to do with this performance, too.
Q: Can the case be made that "Tower Heist' is worth seeing just for Eddie Murphy alone?
A: That case can be made.
Q: Will I like 'Tower Heist'?
A: Here's what's really remarkable about 'Tower Heist': It moves along so quickly and efficiently that, by the end of the movie, your mind has tricked you into thinking that what you just witnessed was enjoyable.
Q: What's the best advice you can give someone who is going to see 'Tower Heist'?
A: Let's say that you go to see 'Tower Heist' with a couple of your friends. Before the film starts, make a pact that never, under any circumstances, will the three of you so much as think about 'Tower Heist' again -- let alone discuss the movie. The second that someone asks a reasonable question concerning the plot of 'Tower Heist,' that person will have opened an inescapable wormhole of shit. 'Tower Heist' is the Sarlacc Pit of plot inconsistencies.
Q: If you're going to be blurbed in this weekend's commercials for 'Tower Heist,' what quote do you think will be used?
A: "'Tower Heist' is comparable to 'Return of the Jedi'!" -- Mike Ryan, Moviefone
Q: But is 'Tower Heist' at least fun?
A: Oh, sure, it is fun. May I suggest some other activities that are fun: Playing on a swing set, eating vanilla wafers, drinking Capri Sun, masturbating.
Q: What's the best scene in 'Tower Heist'?
A: Slide, a career criminal, won't agree to help the others unless they all first commit a crime. At a mall, each member of the group has to shoplift more than $50 worth of merchandise.
Q: Why does 'Tower Heist' make no sense?
A: Well, first of all, as mentioned, the entire plan to steal Alan Alda's money -- a very elaborate plan -- is based on crazy assumptions.
Q: What are those assumptions?
A: Alda's character -- who is under house arrest inside his penthouse, which is under constant FBI surveillance -- may have an extra $20 million floating around that hasn't been accounted for as of yet. Josh just assumes that (a) the money is in the penthouse, (b) the money is in a safe and (c) that safe is hidden in a wall that serves no other purpose. There is no evidence whatsoever that any of this is true, but these people all risk serious jail time based on these assumptions.
Q: OK, people do silly things when they're desperate, so maybe that's not too bad ...
A: That doesn't explain why, during the heist, certain things just ... happen. There's a huge twist right before the heist starts. A twist that puts the entire heist into motion. A twist that seems really elaborate and fairly difficult to pull off, yet the only explanation for it comes when Ben Stiller says, "It worked." What? How did that work? How did you do that, Ben? As a viewer, I really want to know.
Q: What were you given by Universal at the screening for 'Tower Heist'?
A: For some reason, a pack of 'Tower Heist' trading cards.
Q: Is your life complete now that you own a Casey Affleck 'Tower Heist' trading card?
Q: Seriously, should I spend my money to purchase a ticket to 'Tower Heist' or not?
A: Honestly, as long as you promise to not think about what is happening on screen or try to make any sense out of this movie ... sure.
Q: What would have made 'Tower Heist' better?
A: If there were just one scene that explained how the heist worked. Honestly, during the entire heist, I watched with the assumption that, "Yep, this will all be explained at the end and I will be amazed at how this was pulled off." Nope! It just ends. No explanation.
Q: How do you think the conversation went with Brett Ratner when the ending was decided?
"Hey, Brett, this movie doesn't really make sense. Don't you think the audience might have a few questions after it's over?
Q: After this piece runs, what are the odds that Brett Ratner Tweets at you again in all caps?
A: Ten percent.
You can contact Mike Ryan (with your caps lock off) directly on Twitter.
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