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'Man on a Ledge,' woman in underwear

Posted By Drew Zahn On 01/28/2012 @ 4:15 pm In Diversions,Front Page,Reviews | No Comments

I’ve been a big fan of actor Ed Harris since I first saw him in “The Abyss” in 1989, an affection cemented when he appeared in 2001′s “A Beautiful Mind” – so when the trailers came out for “Man on a Ledge,” promising high tension, suspense, intrigue and Ed Harris as the bad guy, I was hooked.

And apparently, when actresses Elizabeth Banks and Genesis Rodriguez saw the script they were hooked, too.

Or, maybe just hook-ers.

“Sure, I’d be happy to star in a film opposite Avatar star Sam Worthington!” I can imagine Banks saying upon reading the script, accepting her role under the assumption that she would actually be treated like a legitimate artisan … instead of a piece of meat.

Instead, audiences get introduced to Banks’ character in a pair of panties and a shamelessly sheer undershirt, the only purpose of which is to show us not only the exact size and shape, but even the color of the woman’s nipples. And the point (no pun intended … OK, maybe it is) of this flash of flesh is … what?

Rodriguez fares no better, as she works to break into a high-security vault in the entirely sensible plunging neckline and push-up bra. I mean, it’s not like she would be concerned about her male break-in partner being distracted, right?

And once inside the vault, Rodriguez must slip into a wetsuit, so naturally, she strips down to her Victoria’s Secret and wiggles and wriggles and bends for the camera, such that her boyfriend remarks, “Angie, you are a piece of art.”

Now, lead actor Sam Worthington, I understand, is quite the Hollywood hunk. But when he’s captivating the gawking audiences of New York down below while he’s standing on a high-rise ledge, does his strip down to his Speedo just for fun? I mean, there’s even a plot point where he has to distract the crowds – wouldn’t popping a few buttons on the French blue shirt and exposing his six-pack to the world do the trick?

Do fellow actors Anthony Mackie or Jamie Bell or even, gulp, Ed Harris give us some skin?

No, they don’t. Because they’re men, expected to be able to act. And in Hollywood, women not named Meryl Streep aren’t afforded that professional courtesy, but apparently exist for only one purpose: soft-core porn.

I’m no feminist. I’m no bleeding heart liberal. I’m actually one of those evangelical Christians who believes the husband is the head of the home and the Bible actually does mean to use the word “submit,” but even I can smell the misogyny in “Man on a Ledge.”

Hollywood liberals can tell us we have to respect “gay” rights, women’s rights, children’s rights and spotted owls’ rights – but they can’t see the hypocrisy in devaluing women to little more than the sum of their sexual parts?

As for the movie itself – debasing of its actresses and contributing to the lusts of its male audiences aside – it’s pretty good. It’s entertaining and suspenseful and well-acted, if a bit predictable and not nearly as intriguing as the trailer suggests. It’s a fun night out or rental-type movie with a dash of police drama mixed together with crime caper.

Of course, the “bad guy” in the movie is naturally a wealthy tycoon, a man whose father came as an immigrant to this country and passed on the American dream to his son. Clearly, pursuing such goals and actually achieving prosperity can only be done if one is also inherently evil.

The surprise hero at the end of the film is also, therefore, a half-crazed Occupy Wall Street loon, who swoops in and saves the day from the evil Ed Harris – proving that the only people Hollywood hates worse that Christians and women are the wealthy (which is kind of ironic coming from the residents of Rodeo Drive, isn’t it?).

All smart-alecking aside, however, I suspect it isn’t really women and the wealthy that Hollywood disdains, but those that would espouse the virtues of capitalism and modesty – the “greedy” on one hand (never mind that history has proven capitalism to be the most upwardly mobile and equalizing economic system yet invented) and the “Christian Taliban” on the other (never mind that biblical virtues like purity and voluntary modesty actually honor and esteem women).

“Man on a Ledge” offers a little in-your-face to both groups, which, despite the engaging premise and even Ed Harris, was a little too in my face to get a positive review.

Content advisory:

  • “Man on a Ledge” contains roughly 50 profanities and obscenities, most of which don’t detract much from the script, though there is one strong use of obscenity.

 

  • The film’s sexuality consists of a few innuendos and lewd comments, the partial nudity described above and a passionate kiss.

 

  • The film’s violence includes a prison-yard fistfight, some gun play, a car chase, a foot chase with people crashing into one another and other various scuffles. The film doesn’t really focus on its violent elements, but only uses them to further the story and/or drama.

 

  • The movie has only a few, small religious elements, including a funeral in which a priest declares, “Faith in God’s promise and faith in yourself is your one true ally.” A few pieces of cross jewelry and a cross tattoo are also present, as is a Hindu character on the street seen briefly praying, but there is no other religious or occult content.

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