Director: Asger Leth
Studio: Di Bonaventura Pictures
If you’ve seen the Man on a Ledge trailer, you’re in on the whole game. Hell, if you’ve seen the dozen or so movies and TV shows from which the Asger Leth directed, Pablo F. Fenjves scripted movie has been calculatedly stitched; you’ll be way ahead of it every step of the way.
The movie certainly starts off as good, goofy, dunderheaded fun. Expressionless Sam Worthington plays a wrongly accused ex-cop and ex-con who climbs onto the ledge outside his 21st-story room in a midtown Manhattan hotel window seemingly intent on meeting his maker and the pavement. While the entire city apparently comes to a standstill, NYPD-negotiator-with-troubled-past Elizabeth Banks begins to sniff out, long after we have, that Worthington may not be a leaper but someone else entirely.
Trading tedious and clichéd bad TV-level banter with Banks, like “How far would you go to get back at a man who took everything from you?” Worthington resorts to slipping (or faking it), which works as a cheap thrill once but pales after too many attempts at milking it. Stalling for time, he yells “I’m an innocent man!” to the crowds massed below and even tosses them a fortune in cash, which could be the only possible reason for them not to yell, “So, jump already!” – as any sensible moviegoer is bound to do.
Meanwhile, Kyra Sedgwick seems in on the joke as a hard ass TV news reporter live on the scene, Edward Burns sleepwalks through his role as a burned-out NYPD burnout and Jamie Bell and his hugely annoying girlfriend Genesis Rodriguez keep in constant communication with the ledge man as they argue their way through an apparently air-tight security system to perform the kind of daring heist we’ve seen too many times.
Dog Day Afternoon, Rififi, Law & Order, Tower Heist – this movie ticks so many well-worn boxes, that by its contrived, messed-up last third, you may find yourself glassy-eyed. But, hey, if you find yourself seriously starved for dumb entertainment this weekend, may as well jump.
About the Author
Playboy Contributing Editor Stephen Rebello has written many Playboy Interviews and 20 Questions features. He is the author of such books as the notorious Bad Movies We Love (with Edward Margulies) and Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, the latter of which has inspired a dramatic feature film set for production in 2012. His most recent Playboy Interviews include Josh Brolin and Cameron Diaz.