Thursday, November 03, 2011


Due to an unfortunate misunderstanding, I recently watched the new Eddie Murphy movie, Tower Heist. It provoked some lingering questions, detailed below. If any of you can help clear these up, naturally, I'm all ears. (I'd insert the distasteful phrase "spoiler alert" here except that, honestly, who cares? But if you haven't seen the movie yet [yet!] and are going to be upset about learning some key "plot points," well, first, congratulations on being able to read; I'm genuinely surprised. And second, please stop reading now.)

The movie takes place in a luxury apartment building in Manhattan. Ben Stiller is the building manager. Casey Affleck is the concierge. Precious is a maid. Ferris Bueller is a disgraced "Wall Street guy" being evicted. Alan Alda is a super-rich penthouse owner who for some reason plays online chess with Stiller, who lives in an inexplicably posh Astoria flat. Eddie Murphy is among the thugs who lurk outside Stiller's apartment. Brett Ratner (X-Men: The Last Stand; Rush Hour) directs. About five people wrote the screenplay, apparently in isolation from one another.

My questions include:

When and why did Ben Stiller's entire staff go from "we hate you for losing our pensions" to "we're crying because you got fired"?

Am I allowed to count the pale, squishy lump that is Matthew Broderick in this movie as yet another of Sarah Jessica Parker's aesthetic crimes? It's her fault, right?

Wait, can we go back to that Lego model for a second? I'm not sure I'm clear on the plan.

OK so is the entire car made of gold? If yes, why are there car keys? I don't think solid-gold engines are known for being super drivable. (Too melty.)

Did I miss when mocking fat girls became hilarious again?

Not to nitpick -- I know it's only a movie -- but how did four non-mechanics disassemble an entire vintage automobile inside a drained swimming pool on top of a building, without so much as a screwdriver in evidence, let alone hydraulic lifts etc., and then box each part for shipping, in a single night, without anybody noticing? Was the UPS guy not a little suspicious?

Speaking of which, does the typical hotel worker know what to do with solid-gold car parts when they arrive mysteriously on the doorstep via UPS? Ask yourself: if someone mailed you an ingot, would you know how to cash it? (No Googling!)

Is Casey Affleck married in real life? He's dreamy.

What, no prison time for the old guy trying to slay a whole marching band with a delivery truck? Guess he seems pretty stable to you, then, what with the two suicide attempts, grand theft auto and the nonstop maniacal laughter?

Why exactly is that Snoopy float so terrifying, I wonder?

Do we think Alan Alda and Ben Stiller have resumed their chess game in prison?

And finally: why do you hate America, Brett Ratner? Is it because we deserve it?

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