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Film: Tower Heist

Tower Heist is a 2011 action comedy directed by Brett Ratner, starring Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy. Stiller plays Josh Kovaks, the building manager of a high-rise owned by Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda), a Wall Street fat cat who ends up being placed under house arrest for a Ponzi scheme involving pretty much every employee in the building. Because they can't legally get their money back, Kovaks decides to enlist Slide (Murphy), a convict who grew up with him, to help him and his co-workers in breaking into Shaw's penthouse in order to recoup what was taken from them.

This film provides examples of:

  • Armor-Piercing Question: "If you care about Lester so much, how come you haven't asked me if he's alive?"
  • Badass Boast: "Sharks are born swimming." This is said by Josh's new lawyer, who just effectively blackmailed the FBI into letting Josh's group off the hook.
  • Benevolent Boss: Josh Kovaks truly cares about the workers in Tower. Ultimately it is this level of empathy that drives him to planning the heist
  • Bittersweet Ending: Shaw is sent to prison for life after his scams are fully revealed, yet Josh is sent to jail as well for the robbery. However, the FBI manages to reduce his term to two years and let Slide, Odessa, Enrique, Fitz and Charlie go free. They manage to recover Shaw's Ferrari (which they hid in his pool), and divide the solid-gold car parts amongst the older members of The Tower's staff.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Slide was afraid the trope would be invoked.
  • Brick Joke: The guy Slide locks in the closet.
  • Butt Monkey: Everyone of the workers to a degree but the award goes to Fitz. For having the most potential to succeed in life out of the entire group he tends to get the short end of everything until the end.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The Ferrari.
    • The pool cover.
    • Lester's attempted suicide.
    • Shaw's monologue about using unexpected sacrifices to win in chess.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The Tower employee studying for her bar exam.
  • CIA Evil, FBI Good: There's no evil CIA, but the FBI is shown in pretty decent light, being all hard-working people, and Reasonable Authority Figures, something unusual for films where the protagonists are committing a huge crime.
  • Comically Missing the Point: The conversation about lesbians.
  • Cool Old Guy: Lester.
  • Crash into Hello: Josh and Claire meet when she knocks him to the ground because he's interfering with an FBI sting.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Charlie.
  • Deconstructive Parody: Of heist movies. Only one member of the crew is a criminal, and he's a petty one at that. The big heist gets messed up before it even starts.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: A chain of retribution, so to speak. Lester tries to commit suicide, Josh destroys Shaw's Ferrari. This in turn causes Shaw to demand that Josh apologize and secretly has plans to sue him, which in turn causes Josh to plan the titular heist.
  • Do Not Call Me Paul: Slide's exact words are: "Call me Darnell one more time, I will beat you to death."
  • Driven to Suicide: Lester tries to kill himself by walking in front of a moving subway train, but is fortunately pulled out of the way at the last second.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Shaw is displayed to be a nice guy, right until Mr. Fitzhugh tells Josh, Charlie & Devereux that Shaw would've known he was in financial trouble roughly a year ago, before he "invested" Lester's savings for him.
  • Exposition Cut
  • Extreme Doormat: Deconstructed. Claire accuses Josh of being this yet he explains he's only that way because he has no need to be otherwise. Then he hears about Lester...
  • Face-Heel Turn: Played with, per se. While planning for the heist, Charlie is hired to become The Tower's new manager. He promises to foil Josh's plans should he push through with the heist. Also, during the heist, Slide decides to go straight for the vault due to the skills he picked up from Odessa. Both of them manage to go through with the original group though.
  • A Father to His Men: Josh towards his staff at The Tower.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Shaw seems like a nice guy at first, but as the movie goes on it shows that his kindness is all an act. Special mention should go to him 'agreeing' to drop the charges against Josh for attacking his car in exchange for an apology, before taunting him about his dismissal and making a comment about doormen only shortly after Lester's dismissal, before revealing later he plans to sue him the first chance he gets, then telling Claire he plans to go after her badge for arresting him, right while offering to take her out for dinner.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Hollywood Density: A car made of pure gold being relatively easily moved and pushed by the cast, and most egregious example, the weight of the boxes containing the spare parts at the end seem to change as they are transferred from hand to hand.
  • Hyper Focused Crowd: A bright red car is dangled and swinging from a skyscraper over the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. No one in the crowd below seems to notice.
  • Interservice Rivalry: The policeman who isn't letting several FBI agents escort a man under house arrest back to his home. It would not have been much for him to go out and quickly allow six people to cross the parade route between balloons, but the plot demands it.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • "I'm sorry sir, but we don't accept tips at The Tower."
    • "Checkmate."
  • Jerk Ass: Shaw most definitely. Slide is also one, though he's at least somewhat likeable.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: While Josh definitely wants to get back the money that was stolen from him, he does have an innate desire to make sure everyone else who got scammed gets compensated as well.
  • Karmic Thief: The thieves target a dishonest Wall Street banker.
  • Loophole Abuse: Averted. Shaw still had to go to jail for the hidden safe he didn't report.
  • Misplaced-Names Poster: As you can see above, the names don't match up, and adding to that there are six names and seven people.
  • The Mole: Lester, Manuel, and several other members of the staff are shown to be aware of the heist as it goes on.
  • Mood Whiplash / Bathos: Often, after a serious scene, the scene (thanks to context) will cut to things like the inside of a Toys R Us where a My Little Pony (G3, no less!) ferris wheel cart can be seen, or the Sponge Bob Square Pants theme song.
  • Motor Mouth: Slide. It's Eddie Murphy, so it's pretty much a given.
  • Never Live It Down: In-universe. Josh's childhood asthma gave him fits that other kids thought were seizures. Slide remembers this and isn't afraid to bring it up. invoked
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailers and promotional material lead Tea Leoni's character to be a member of the heist crew. She is an FBI Agent assigned to keep watch of Shaw and serves as Josh's (Ben Stiller) love interest. The trailer also makes it look like Odessa will make a Face-Heel Turn. In the movie, she was just disappointed that the guard was allergic to chocolate. Plus, it makes Stiller and Murphy look like co-leads, when Slide is actually a supporting role.
  • No Name Given: Mr. Fitzhugh's first name is never revealed.
  • No Peripheral Vision: Thousands of people in the parade fail to notice a bright red Ferrari being dangled off the side of a building. They are really concentrating on that parade.
  • Off the Rails: After all the build-up and planning, the gang ends up sending the heist flying off the rails in the first two minutes.
  • Oh Crap: Shaw, when Josh reveals that they found his ledger of all his criminal accounts and are going to present it to the authorities.
  • The Precious, Precious Car: Oh, quite precious, as we discover.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Odessa. Bonus points for being Jamaican..
  • Shaped Like Itself: Don't make Slide mad or he'll "blow your face clean off your face."
    • The tower named, well, The Tower.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Slide.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Josh and Shaw. They play one another online at the beginning of the film, and apparently they've been doing so for a while.
  • Smug Snake: Arthur Shaw.
  • Soul Brotha:Slide .
  • Stop Helping Me!: After Josh gets his friends fired.
  • Taking You with Me: At the end of the film, Josh pulls this on Shaw, by handing the FBI his ledger & the evidence to lock him away for the rest of his life, in exchange for a reduced sentence for himself & the rest of the team walking free.
  • Thanksgiving Day Story: When the eponymous heist takes place.
  • Uncommon Time: Much of Christophe Beck's score is in 7/8.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Before news of his crimes come out Shaw seems like a nice guy, having friendly chats with lowly members of staff and playing regular chess games with Kovacs. He then abuses their trust to get them to give him their money.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Last we saw of Mr. Simon, he was still locked in the closet
    • Also, whatever happened to the FBI agent who was about to kick down the locked door?
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Josh establishes himself as a master of this.

Tonight Youre MineFilms of the 2010sThe Tree of Life

alternative title(s): Tower Heist
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