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"Man on a Ledge": Wrong-Man Thriller Goes Thud 

Wednesday, Jan 25 2012

The hero of this red-herring heist flick draws two reactions from the throng beneath his 21st-floor perch on a Manhattan hotel. The first is the "just get it over with" impatience of New Yorkers impeded by police barricades. The second is unlikely populist solidarity among the 99-percenters below. Man on a Ledge is, then, essentially a remake of the recent Tower Heist, with yet another band of blue-collar heroes trying to claw back the ill-gotten gains of an arrogant penthouse villain. Unfortunately, this film doesn't realize it's a comedy. Man on ledge Nick (the terminally bland Sam Worthington) is soon revealed to be a former NYC cop wrongfully imprisoned by a venal developer (Ed Harris) who owns both the hotel and a treasure vault across the street. By threatening to jump, Nick provides a diversion for his brother (Jamie Bell) to crack the safe that will presumably disgorge diamonds and exoneration. To stall for time, Nick requests disgraced NYPD negotiator Lydia (Elizabeth Banks) to coax him down; sparks don't fly between them. Director-for-hire Asger Leth (Ghosts of Cité Soleil) does what he can with the predictable script, and there are nods to Occupy Wall Street and Dog Day Afternoon. But the whole thing plays like random outtakes from Law & Order, only without Chris Noth to save the day.

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Brian Miller


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