The Flick Chicks

Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

Man on a Ledge | Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, Anthony Mackie, Ed Harris, Jamie Bell | Review

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  3_Chicks_Small Jacqueline Monahan

Jacqueline  Monahan

Las Vegas Round The Clock
Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for
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Man on a Ledge | Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, Anthony Mackie, Ed Harris, Jamie Bell | Review

Even with a compelling title and around 20 minutes of promising story, Man on a Ledge quickly gets old.  There’s a whole subplot to uncover which should serve as a magnet for viewer attention, but instead dissolves into moronic dialogue, one-note characters and improbable developments.

Twists are appreciated but it is an extra bonus if they are done well (the Mission: Impossible franchise is an example).  Here the audience is asked to believe in characters that appear not to know how to dress appropriately or act professionally but are entrusted with covert missions or public safety.

Put your brain on hold and grab a big bucket or box of something to chew on and you may have a good time with this story of Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) a wrongly convicted cop who breaks out of jail, books a room at Manhattan’s Roosevelt Hotel, and calmly climbs on the building’s ledge threatening to jump.  Of course he attracts a crowd, and also the attention of police, including Detective Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks).

Nick has requested Lydia after having researched her history as a counselor specializing in jumpers – although she’s just lost one the month before.

All this commotion diverts attention from Nick’s kid brother Joey (Jamie Bell) and Joey’s girlfriend Angie (Genesis Rodriguez) who are simultaneously engaged in a break-in at a nearby building to clear Nick’s name.

The bad guy here is David Englander (Ed Harris) a pompous developer used to getting his way.  Englander has a press conference planned to unveil his newest high rise that very day.  Coincidence? No, but neither is it clever or compelling.

TV news reporter Suzie Morales (Kyra Sedgwick) pops up at intervals with silly commentary to break any kind of tension that might have built up.  Joey and Angie also trade silly banter as they maneuver their way through elaborate alarm systems and barely escape detection on their risky escapade.  These off-ledge exchanges fall flatter than Nick might if Lydia is unsuccessful in talking him down.

Detective Jack Dougherty (Ed Burns) is assigned to the case and his mission seems to be disagreeing with every decision that Lydia makes.  She’s the only one among her male counterparts that has a clue that there’s more going on with Nick that meets the eye.  Mike Ackerman (Anthony Mackie) Nick’s former partner shows up to lend support and further complications to the story.  Did he help set his partner up or is he a good guy, trying to help out?

Like I said before, twists are appreciated and they dutifully show up here; they’re just not well-executed.  The script is problematic, and Screenwriter Pablo F. Fenjves (ghostwriter for O.J. Simpson’s If I Did It) lets the dialogue lapse into inane quips that chip away at any expositional integrity.
Sam Worthington and Anthony Mackie give respectable performances; Elizabeth Banks is likeable as Lydia, though hardly believable.  Ed Burns is a textbook detective in a trench coat (yawn) and Ed Harris is drawn so incredibly evil that it’s hard to see past his grimaces.

Directed by Asger Leth (Ghosts of Cité Soleil, documentary) makes his feature film debut armed with a good story trapped in a bad script.  Ledge scenes convey danger; all other scenes plummet into a sidewalk full of implausibility that can’t break the fall and doesn’t even pretend to try.

It won’t matter if Nick jumps; you might want to after awhile.

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