January is notoriously known as the time of year when Hollywood does its version of spring-cleaning. The movie industry clears its shelves of films that, for various reasons, have gotten pushed aside and gathered dust, and then they dump their garbage on an unsuspecting public that is still in a sugar coma brought on by the holiday glut of blockbusters and Academy Award hopefuls. Man on a Ledge falls straight into the January dumpster of cinematic refuse.
Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington of Avatar and Clash of the Titans) is a cop serving hard jail time for stealing a rare priceless diamond from a real estate tycoon (Ed Harris). The catch is he was framed, so that the tycoon could file a $40 million dollar insurance claim on the jewel. So Nick devises an elaborate plan that involves breaking out of jail and enlisting his brother (Jamie Bell) and his girlfriend (Genesis Rodriguez) into really stealing the alleged “stolen” diamond, while Nick creates a distraction by threatening to jump off said ledge and at the same time remotely coordinates the heist. Oh yeah, throw in a rogue police psychologist (Elizabeth Banks of The 40 Year Old Virgin) who tries to talk Nick down, and is slowly persuaded to help clear his name.
If you are thinking that poor ol’ Nick’s plan sounds pretty desperate, just think of how the writer (Pablo F. Fenjves) of this train wreck must have felt. Man on a Ledge is an ill-conceived effort with stereotypical characters up to and including the New York City crowd that gathers, goading Nick to take the leap. Then at mid-film the same crowd is suddenly on Nick’s side because he tosses them a few dollars from up on his perch. At one point the story is so desperate that it even borrows the famous “Attica” scene from Dog Day Afternoon (1975).
Man on a Ledge is little more than a bad TV movie-of-the-week, and it would be easy to say that I would have rather jumped off a building myself than endure the entirety of this film, but that would be too cliché. The film’s one redeeming quality is a gratuitous scene of a scantily clad Genesis Rodriguez squeezing into a skintight jumpsuit, and while seeing this alone is a good reason to live, it’s far from enough to save this stinker from splatting right into the pavement.