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File:Tower-heist-poster 8837.jpg

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.

Tropes used in Tower Heist include:
  • Actor Allusion:
  • All-Star Cast: Take a look at the poster.
  • 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.
  • Comically Missing the Point: The conversation about lesbians.
  • Cool Old Guy: Lester.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Charlie.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Evilly Affable: Shaw seems like a nice guy at first, but as the movie goes on it shows that his kindness is all an act.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • "I'm sorry sir, but we don't accept tips at The Tower."
    • "Checkmate."
  • Jerkass: 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.
  • 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 [1] ferris wheel cart can be seen, or the SpongeBob SquarePants theme song.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Scary Black Man: Slide.
  • Shaped Like Itself: Don't make Slide mad or he'll "blow your face clean off your face."
  • Sir Swearsalot: 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.
  • 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 the film'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 Could Have Been: Besides the rumored Dave Chappelle cameo, Chris Rock was the original choice for Kovaks and Robert Redford was the original choice for Shaw. Redford turned down the role while Rock lost out to Stiller.
  • 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.

Notes

  1. G3, no less!
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