Directed by Brett Ratner. Starring Eddie Murphy, Ben Stiller, Casey Affleck, Matthew Broderick, Alan Alda.
Bringing together a cast of acting and comic greats, new and old, has definitely helped lift a somewhat threadbare plot to comic heights.
Ben Stiller is Josh Kovacs, the amiable and efficient manager of a high-end apartment hotel block, overseeing a large and quirky staff. Almost everything runs like clockwork at the tower, until one day the FBI bust in and arrest wealthy investor Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda) for embezzling millions of dollars in investor’s money. That includes the building staff’s pension fund Josh so unwisely asked Shaw to invest for them. And thus germinate the seeds of discontent and vengeance.
The lovely Tea Leoni plays FBI agent Denham who sympathises with Josh, who loses his job after an incident where he takes a club to Shaw’s prized vintage Ferrari that was driven by Steve McQueen. A little flirting, a little insider information and Josh realises that Shaw has a stash of millions in his penthouse at the tower. The plot thickens and as you can imagine curdles a bit in the execution.
The story is outlandish of course and borderline unbelievable. But that doesn’t matter. You’re more than ready to suspend disbelief. After all you have Eddie Murphy back. When he comes on screen you’re transfixed by how young he still looks and how deftly he still delivers his zippy lines and vulgar retorts. Matthew Broderick, Ben Stiller, Michael Pena and Gabourey Sidibe are all very good. Alan Alda does evil, menacing Mr Shaw with a panache rarely seen from today’s actors.
Matthew Broderick as the bankrupt former tenant of the tower adds something fresh to the gang with his down-and-out demeanour and it’s sad he doesn’t get more roles.
You can’t expect a movie like this to have a great storyline. But you do expect it to have great comic timing, chemistry between actors, funny situations and solid performances. All this doesn’t grow on trees. But director Brett Ratner (Rush Hour) has managed to rally it all together thanks to a talented and experienced cast that also happen to be really funny people.