Man on a Ledge

Sam Worthington plays the man in “Man on a Ledge.” He might have been better cast as the ledge. Previously foisted upon us in “Avatar,” “Terminator: Salvation,” and “Clash of the Titans,” Worthington is the world’s dullest up-and-coming action star, and “Man on a Ledge” shows him in no danger of relinquishing that title. But there are interesting people around him in the film, an unambitious but competent heist thriller directed by documentarian Asger Leth (“Ghosts of Cite Soleil”) that also features Elizabeth Banks, Jamie Bell, and Ed Harris. The result is dumb, easy-to-swallow fun, more or less — the sort of movie that makes people say, “Well, that wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.”

Worthington plays Nick Cassidy, a New York City cop who was convicted — wrongly, he alleges — for committing a felony against David Englander (Ed Harris), a ruthless real estate mogul. Now Nick finds himself on an upper-story ledge of a Manhattan hotel, threatening to jump and refusing to reveal his identity to anyone. He tells the cop (Edward Burns) trying to talk him down that he wants to speak to a specific detective, a troubled investigator named Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks).

While this is going on, so are some other things. As you might have guessed, Nick’s threats of suicide are not the real issue here. His brother, Joey (Jamie Bell), and Joey’s girlfriend, Angie (Genesis Rodriguez), are involved, as is his former partner, Mike Ackerman (Anthony Mackie). Oh, and Kyra Sedgwick plays a TV reporter covering the ledge drama, but her character is laughably pointless.

The secret master plan is eventually revealed to be convoluted and idiotic, as is often the case in movies about secret master plans. Pablo F. Fenjves’ screenplay offers only perfunctory glimpses into the characters’ mindsets, and gives them very little to say that is memorable, funny, or interesting. Only Ed Harris gets to have any fun, playing the billionaire villain with over-the-top rage and indignation. He throws a wristwatch at a wall in anger. That part is memorable.

For as generic as the film is, though, it’s not irritating, and it’s never boring. It’s too industrious to fall into those traps — there’s too much going on, and even though most of it is nonsense, at least it’s watchable nonsense. Harris, Bell, and Banks, all working well below their proficiency level, give it some spice. I suspect a lot of people will be paying a dollar to rent this from Redbox in a few months. From an economic standpoint, that sounds about right.

C+ (1 hr., 42 min.; PG-13, one F-word, some vulgarity and mild violence.)

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