Posted by Rande Iaboni on November 3, 2011 at 12:10 am
A group of hard working employees find out they’ve fallen victim to a wealthy business man’s Ponzi scheme and conspire to rob his high-rise residence for 20 million dollars in Brett Ratner’s latest action-comedy.
Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy lead an all-star cast that includes Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck, Tea Leoni, Gabourey Sidibe, Michael Pena, and Alan Alda. Yep, this film is chock full of A-listers and while it could’ve been Comedy gold it falls somewhat short. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a terrible film, it’s just not as good as it could have been.
I really dug the premise, a wealthy man (Alan Alda) who seems perfectly trustworthy manages to rob his entire apartment building staff of their life’s worth and they conspire together to get it all back. It’s a great setup and with this dynamite cast it should’ve been a knock out of the park. But alas, this film is not without its flaws.
For starters, half of the cast was completely wasted. While Broderick and Affleck are on screen for the majority of the picture, they spend it doing absolutely nothing. I get that some people need to play the “straight man” in a comedy, but these are extremely talented actors that were wasted on boring throwaway roles. Sure Alan Alda is perfectly diaboloical as the wealthy villain here, his subtle evil-ness really displays how incredible of an actor he is, but he is completely underused in the latter half of the film. And what happened to Tea Leoni’s character? She had a great setup but her character basically disappeared in the climax and had no closure.
That being said, both Eddie Murphy and Michael Pena absolutely stole the show for me. Lately I have not been a fan of Murphy’s who has been making the worst career choices in comedy history, but he really nails it in this one as the criminal expert “Slide.” Michael Pena on the other hand is a little less known in the industry but I’ve always thought he had some talent and he definitely proves himself here up against some veteran actors.
But all of this means nothing if the film didn’t deliver the laughs, so did it? Well yes and no. There were times where I was laughing out loud don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t consistent enough. Especially towards the end of the film when all hell broke loose and the film lost all realistic credibility. When I say this film was silly, that’s an understatement. Without spoiling anything, the way the robbery goes down in the climax is absolutely preposterous and instead of being funny it will leave the audience rolling their eyes at its implausibility.
Overall, this film was just average for me and it’s a shame because of all the amazing talent involved. But once again Ratner proves that while he can make an entertaining film, he really has trouble creating substance in his movies (case in point: X-Men The Last Stand). Like I said though, this film was not terrible and I’ve definitely seen worse action-comedies, but I just don’t think it’s worth rushing to the theater over (just ask the guy sitting behind me at the screening who was actually SNORING during the film).