“So there’s this man, right, and he’s on a ledge, yeah”. As far as titles as story summations go, audiences haven’t been treated to such a degree of idiot proofing since Sam Jackson was bothered by some legless reptiles boarding a jumbo jet. And where Snakes On A Plane failed in 2006 – hampered by a title ultimately more enjoyable than it’s finished product – Man On A Ledge fails in 2012. But fecal matter by any other name still smells like shite and regardless of whether the film was called Person On A Platform or Woman On A Windowsill, with a script this dumb Man On A Ledge only ever had one direction to travel.
A man checks into a hotel and orders an elaborate meal of lobster and champagne. Upon finishing the meal, the man dusts the room down for prints, writes a note and washes his hands. He then, presumably, dusts the room down for prints again before opening a window. Ignoring the partial prints on the window sill, and before you can say “We’ve got a man on a ledge”, he steps out…onto the ledge…accompanied by his penis which indicates his gender as male. Huzzah! It’s a man on a ledge.
It may seem churlish to over-analyse the whereabouts of Sam Worthington’s fingerprints during the opening of Man On A Ledge but in doing so it reveals that right from the off we’re presented with a film that doesn’t so much ask you to suspend your disbelief, as repeatedly shotgun your disbelief in the face until said disbelief is nothing more than a mess of skull and pus and pellets.
So, if you have a mind perturbed by such annoying trivialities as sense and logic, a mind that asks questions such as “How does a man run away completely unscathed from a car crash so spectacular the vehicle practically disintegrates?” and the supplimentary query, “How does a few hundred people cheering on a street below mask the sound and shaking of a mini explosion on a roof on the opposite side of the street?”, then Man On A Ledge might not be for you.
A decade after Colin Farrell accepted a collect call in Times Square in the pleasingly simple Phone Booth, Man On A Ledge looks to Joel Schumacher’s high concept flick for guidance. But where Phone Booth had the cojones to run with it’s concept, Man On A Ledge jumps fleetingly between Sam’s vertigo inducing predicament and the most ludicrous heist since Woody Allen’s Small Time Crooks led by Jamie Bell and both of Genesis Rodriguez’s breasts.
When the focus switches to this unlikely trio – yes it’s fair to count the mammaries of Rodriguez as two separate entities – the film really jumps up a notch on the crapometer. Irritating beyond belief, it’s easier to believe that giant blue cat people live on a planet rich with Unobtanium than it is to believe these two/three could crack an egg, let alone a safe.
Due more to poor picks than because of his wandering accent – one that spends more time going Walkabout down under than Jenny Agutter – Worthington’s status as a genuine leading man is looking less and less likely with each movie. He’s got the looks of an A-lister and his acting ability is tolerable enough for undemanding roles such as this, but any Avatarian goodwill will quickly erode if he keeps picking duds. With the follow-up to the wretched Clash Of The Titans due later this year Sam better hope that Jim’s ready for a second trip to Pandora sooner rather than later.
In different hands, with a different script and a different cast Man On A Ledge may have had potential. But then it’d be a different movie. Phone Booth, for instance. Speaking of which, it’s not too much of a stretch to think of Colin accepting his call from Kiefer a few blocks away from Sam’s potential jumper. It might go someone to explaining why the crowd below Worthington is so sparse. The audience below has better things to do with it’s time. And so do you.
There’s a very thin ledge between ‘stupid fun’ and ‘stupid dull’ and for it’s first half hour Man On A Ledge teeters perilously close to the abyss. Once the reason for the man’s occupation of said ledge is revealed, and the secondary characters pitch in, the film takes an almighty 200ft swan dive to the ground below, resulting in a messy puddle of blood and piss and shit.