HIGH-RISE crime is given a comedic spin this week in Stiller and Murphy team-up Tower Heist.
Life for the residents residents of exclusive New York apartment block The Tower is near perfection thanks to the dedicated staff led by building manager Josh Kovacs (Ben Stiller).
But when tenant and influential investor Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda) is accused of losing millions of invested funds - including the pension schemes for the workers at The Tower - it is up to 'the help' to steal it back.
Backed-up by thief Slider (Eddie Murphy), the gang attempt to take on a devious financial titan and win.
That is, if they can find his missing millions first.
Director Brett Ratner is no stranger to action-comedies having helmed the hit and miss Rush Hour trilogy (as well as providing the most questionable X-Men film of the series with Last Stand).
While Tower Heist may not be the most memorable movie of the year so far, it falls in line with Ratner’s ‘enjoyable but not earth-shattering’ approach as he tackles grand larceny.
A low-rent, bumbling Ocean’s Eleven may have already been done with 2002’s often over-looked Welcome To Collinwood, but Tower Heist shreds indie-credentials for a more mainstream offering with plenty of Lethal Weapon-esque banter and fast-talking quips.
Stylistically the New York locations and simple aesthetics offer little original until the final act, where the incongruous worlds of car theft and skyscrapers collide.
But where the film excels is in the casting.
A gaggle of Oscar nominees including Casey Affleck, Alan Alda, Judd Hirsch and Gabourey Sidibe complement the ensemble casting; offering a stereotypical band of characters, which (mostly) side-step the cliché.
But this is a Stiller/Murphy vehicle.
Eddie Murphy takes a break from voicing animated donkeys or adorning a variety of fat suits in sub-par family friendly fodder to return to more adult comedy.
And the result is thankfully welcoming.
Not quite the return to form in fare such as Trading Places or Beverly Hills Cop, his quick-witted delivery and venomous tongue offers reminders of his former glory.
Stiller on the other hand leaves audiences wanting.
The occasional quip lands but it is obvious the role was not written with the Tropic Thunder star in mind (with a patch of jarring rewrites more akin to his particular brand of humour papering the cracks).
Tower Heist may be touted as an action-comedy, but fails to offer enough of either.
Nevertheless, for easy popcorn viewing, Ratner has another floor-riding entertainer propped up by a sterling cast.
6/10 - Middle floor.