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(2011), PG-13 [HARD R-13*] (96.5min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
February 23, 2012
February 23, 2012

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2011), PG-13 [HARD R-13*] ... one use of profanity per minute.

Production (US): Imagine Entertainment, Universal Pictures, Relativity Media
Distribution (US): Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Director(s): Brett Ratner
Producer(s): Bill Carraro. Karen Sherwood, Brian Grazer, Eddie Murphy, Kim Roth
Story by: Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Ted Griffin
Screenplay by: Ted Griffin, Jeff Nathanson
Cinematography/Camera: Dante Spinotti
Music: Christophe Beck
Film Editing: Mark Helfrich
Casting: Kathleen Chopin
Production Design: Kristi Zea
Viewed on Universal Pictures Home Entertainment DVD

This is the lowest scoring PG-13 of the 698 PG-13 films we have analyzed over the years. Tower Heist earned a zero content investigation area score in four of the six CAP content investigation areas. All investigation areas but Murder/Suicide found content to be R-equivalent, not in intensity or extremeness but in the sheer number of examples of assault on morality and decency. This resulted in a final score of 20 out of 100! Films in the comparative baseline database rated R earned final scores of 54 and below out of 100. The content of this film is about as R-13 as PG-13 can get.

Wealthy, or at least once wealthy Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda) lived in the penthouse of The Tower, the highest priced apartment real estate anywhere that went for an average of $5.6 million. Shaw even owned one of the race cars driven by Steve McQueen, a 1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso worth $1,000,000 ten years ago and had it reassembled in his living room on the 65th floor.

Out of concern for the future of his staff, Josh Marvin Kovaks (Ben Stiller), the building general manager, solicited Shaw to invest the pension portfolios of The Tower staff to triple their value at maturity. But Shaw swindled the pension funds and all the staff had no retirement income. Kovaks was the one who solicited Shaw to make the investments and felt that he was the one who lost the staff their pension. Bound and determined to restore the pension funds, Kovaks launched a theft campaign to steal what he expected to be $20,000,000 from a secret safe in Shaw's penthouse. Instead, what was found had an estimated worth of $45,000,000, give or take $10,000,000.

This is a clever and well made film with engaging flow and a star-studded cast of experienced performers but it is filthy with assaults on morality and decency. No matter how pretty the package, the content is moral poison.


Following are brief discussions of the content per individual content investigation area. As always the Findings section of this report, the heart of the CAP Analysis Model, is the best source for discovering the full accounting of the content of this film.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
Subjectively speaking, there is nothing particularly graphic or intense about the violence or crime content found by this investigation area, but there are so many of them, so many pieces and parts to the violence/crime content that the total package is equivalent in magnitude to many R-rated films.

To try to even summarize the violence content here would require to much space and would not be feasible. I ask that you inspect the listing in the Findings section that provides a full accounting of the violence/crime findings.

But what is feasible is to share with you what God has to say about violence. He speaks darkly of violence more than 50 times from Genesis to Revelation. One verse I find particularly explanatory is Proverb 16:29 in which God warns that violence can be "catching": that violence can lead one into the path that is not good. And finally man has echoed God's warnings about violence by four professional public health agencies publishing findings which warn that viewing violence in and as entertainment can, among other things, especially for the young, lead to real life violence and lead the viewer to believe violence is an acceptable means of settling conflict.

Impudence/Hate (I) - Zero out of 100
There are 94 uses of profanity in the 96.5 minutes of programming. That is 0.98 uses of profanity per minute! In any reasonable mathematical rounding that is one use of profanity per minute since 0.02 minute is 1.2 seconds and many of the uses of profanity took more than 1.2 seconds to speak them. Ever wonder why so many adolescents use filthy language? Entertainment such as this is one of the reasons [Rom. 5:19]. The "profane babblings" content [Col.3:8, Eph. 4:29, 2 Tim. 2:16, Prov. 22:11] was more than enough to steal all the 100 starting points of this investigation area but there are a number of other matters of impudence and/or hatred such as lying, ordering to lie, offering to lie [Rev. 21:8] and adolescent disrespect of fair authority [1 Tim. 5:1].

Sexual Immorality (S) - 17 out of 100
The film is filled with sexual innuendo, crude anatomical references and presents a long discourse about lesbians and lesbianism. When Shaw was taken into prison most of the men in it howled sexual interest in him. Dressing to maximize the female form and/or skin exposure was noted twice, one of those women was used as a toy or an ornament for a married man. Sex talk and intercourse slang topped off the loss of 83 of the starting 100 points in this investigation area. [1 Thess. 4:1 - 5]

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - Zero out of 100
Alcohol. Drinking of it. Drunkenness. It is all there. Tea Leoni as Agent Claire Denham asks Josh "You wanna get drunk?" One of the cohorts, Odessa (Gabourney Sidibe) ties to drug on of the FBI agents.

This is a PG-13 film which is a lure for adolescents. Drinking and drunkenness in their entertainment are specific dangers according to the American College of Physicians (ACP). In 2002, the ACP published their findings which reveal that adolescent exposure to drinking in and as entertainment undeniably leads to abuse of alcohol among underage viewers. The report entitled Relation Between Parental Restrictions on Movies and Adolescent Use of Tobacco and Alcohol reports that of 4544 youths from grades 5 through 8 of fifteen Vermont and New Hampshire middle schools (90% of the youths were under fourteen years old) only 16% were completely restricted in their entertainment diets. Within the ACP study population, the prevalence of having tried alcohol without parental knowledge was

  • 46% for those with no viewing restrictions
  • 16% for those with partial viewing restrictions
  • four percent for those with complete viewing restrictions. [Eph. 5:18]

    There is nothing to say that viewing smoking in and as entertainment does not carry the same danger of influence as viewing drinking. Actually, the same matter of behavior implantation applies to any behavior demonstrated in and as entertainment, including good behavior.

    Offense to God (O) - Zero out of 100
    God's name is abused 15 times, 6 of them with the four letter expletive. When God warns us about abuse of His name He does not specify whether abuse of His name with the four letter expletive is worse than without it. So, "technically" speaking, it doesn't matter to the sin of using His name in vain whether you use the four letter expletive or not. It is man's values that makes using His name with the four letter expletive offensive while just using His name alone is not. By His Word, anyone who uses His name in vain, with or without the four letter expletive, including that adolescent-popular three syllable sentence with His name tailing it (see the Scriptural reference below), will not he held guiltless. [Deut. 5:11]

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
    There are no portrayals of murder or suicide of any kind in the entire 96.5 minutes of the show.



    If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Prov. 16:29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. [The issue is the violence, the 'way that is not good' no matter how "small" or "fantasy" or "justified" the violence might seem, and its "leading" effect on the observer. "A violent man" can be any character of any age, any gender, human or not in the act of committing (demonstrating in the case of entertainment) violent behavior/action whether for good or evil OR the violent behaviors/actions themselves. Such exposure can and does embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. It took years for the American professional health community to finally affirm, probably without knowing it, that which God told us in 1 Cor. 15:33 below. See also Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit for more information. Their findings include:
    --> Children who see a lot of violence are more likely to view violence as an effective way of settling conflicts. Children exposed to violence are more likely to assume the acts of violence are acceptable behavior.
    --> Viewing violence can lead to emotional desensitization towards violence in real life. It can decease the likelihood that one will take action on behalf of a victim when violence occurs.
    --> Entertainment violence feeds a perception that the world is a violent and mean place. Viewing violence increases fear of becoming a victim of violence, with a resultant increase in self-protective behavior and a mistrust of others.
    --> Viewing violence may lead to real life violence. Children exposed to violent programming at a young age have a higher tendency for violent and aggressive behavior later in life than children who are not so exposed.
    Further, God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV.]
  • Rom. 5:19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners...
  • Col. 3:8 But now ye also put off [rid yourself of] all these; anger, wrath, malice [kakia: ill-will, desire to injure, wickedness, depravity, evil, trouble, not ashamed to break laws, etc.], blasphemy [blasphemia: impious and reproachful speech injurious to divine majesty], filthy communication [aischrologia:foul speaking, low and obscene speech] out of your mouth.
  • Eph. 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
  • 2 Tim. 2:16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
  • Prov. 22:11 He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend.
  • Rev. 21:8 But the [unforgiven] fearful [deilos {di-los'}; timid, cowardly], and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers [sexually immoral], and sorcerers [all forms of evil/magic to force or do harm], and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. ["Timid" as used in this verse does not mean humble or meek. It means cowering in fear when, e.g., someone threatens your loved one and you hide in the shadows to save yourself as your loved one is victimized.]
  • 1 Tim. 5:1 Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father.
  • 1 Thess. 4:1 - 5 Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his [or her] own body [which includes control of drives, touching, seeking, lusting (even after images), crude talk, promiscuity, etc.] in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; [Be master of your body and urges, not a slave to them. Be not a seeker of any manner of sexually-oriented imagery or behavior outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage. For any sexual contact (including sight, sound and touch), conduct or activity outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage is sinful.]
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. [Since "drunk" is methusko {meth-oos'-ko}: to intoxicate; make drunk; to get drunk; become intoxicated, "wine" can be any intoxicating substance including illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs. The issue is do not abuse the body by intoxicating it [1 Cor. 6:19]. Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk OR to influence to get drunk OR to drink in defiance such as underage drinking.]
  • 1 Cor. 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
  • Deut. 5:11. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain. [Vain is shav {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as in slang or profanity. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or responsible discussion and in praise and prayer is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name or title even if as a euphemism. So, trying to excuse such expressions with "I was talking TO God/Jesus when I said that" or It's just words" or "I was acting" will not work with Him. Nor will "Everybody says that" excuse the sin of using His name in vain. If everyone on the planet who has ever drawn a breath used His name in vain, it would still be a sin to do so. If no one ever did, it would still be a sin to do so. Whether we believe it or not. Whether we like it or not. Whether we care or not.]

    Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry

  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend what is vile, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it.]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    Tower Heist (2011) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
  • police arrest violence
  • attempted suicide
  • wanton destruction of private property to extort
  • planning crime, repeatedly
  • hiring men to commit crime
  • petty theft, repeatedly
  • teaching to steal
  • fraud
  • firearm to head
  • police officer corruption
  • casing building to rob, repeatedly
  • staging robbery
  • illegal confinement
  • physical assault
  • breaking and entering
  • firearm threat
  • threat to kill, repeatedly
  • fight over possession of firearm causing reckless discharge and endangerment
  • high altitude dangling peril, repeatedly
  • reckless vehicular endangerment of many, repeatedly
  • felony evasion
  • criminal offer
  • using stolen property to reimburse victims for losses, multiple

    Impudence/Hate (I) - Zero out of 100
  • 94 uses of profanity
  • lying, repeatedly
  • ordering to lie
  • offer to lie
  • adolescent disrespect of fair authority

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 17 out of 100
  • intercourse slang
  • sexual innuendo
  • sex talk
  • anatomical reference, repeatedly
  • dressing to maximize the female form and/or skin exposure, twice
  • using a woman as a toy/ornament
  • nude art
  • crude anatomical term, twice
  • Playboy™ magazine, repeatedly
  • homosexual threats

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - Zero out of 100
  • bar
  • drinking, repeatedly
  • drunkenness, repeatedly"
  • You wanna get drunk"
  • attempted drugging

    Offense to God (O) - Zero out of 100
  • 15 abuses of God's name, 6 with the four letter expletive
  • adultery
  • praying to God for a successful robbery

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
  • none noted

    Interested parties, send us your proposal. Your link will appear on each new analysis report prepared during the desired period and, once placed on a page, will not be removed.

    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    * CAP Equivalence to MPAA Rating Scale:
    Please note our new manner of indicating a film's Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating in comparison with the CAP equivalence such as "PG-13 [R-13]." The first term is the Motion Picture Association of America's (MPAA) rating. The second term [in brackets] indicates that which the film earned under the CAP analysis model. In the example, "PG-13 [R-13]" indicates the MPAA rated the film PG-13 but the film earned a CAP final score in the scoring range earned by R-rated movies in the comparative baseline database. Other comparative terms used might be "PG [13-PG]", "G [PG-G] or even 'PG-13 [PG]" as was the case for Alien vs Predator. I doubt there will ever be a "G [R]" used, but only time will tell. The CAP analysis model is Rock-solid. The MPAA is not.

    The current CAP to MPAA** nomenclature is:

    For G rated Films with
    G equivalence: G
    PG equivalence: PG-G
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-G
    R equivalence: R-G<
    For PG rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-PG
    PG equivalence: PG
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-PG
    R equivalence: R-PG
    For PG-13 rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-13
    PG equivalence: PG(13)
    PG-13 equivalence: PG-13
    R equivalence: R-13
    For R rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-R
    PG equivalence: PG-R
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-R
    R equivalence: R
    For NR rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-NR
    PG equivalence: PG-NR
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-NR
    R equivalence: R-NR
    ** G, PG, PG-13 and R are registered trademarks of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

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