Review: ‘The Ledge’ = ‘God for Dummies’

Can’t wait until Thanksgiving dinner to witness a pointless conversation between a pompous fundamentalist Christian and a sneering atheist? This is the movie for you!

Can’t wait until Thanksgiving dinner to witness a pointless conversation between a pompous fundamentalist Christian and a sneering atheist? Then “The Ledge” is the movie for you.

This shrill and pedantic exercise in speechifying gives us “deep” conversations about religion and the afterlife that wouldn’t pass muster in a freshman Philosophy 101 study group, delivered with all the earnestness and lack of subtlety of the old “Davey and Goliath” show. (If that Christian cartoon had featured Liv Tyler’s boobs, that is.)

Tyler, fresh off playing a former drug addict who married Rainn Wilson as a way to get a grip on her life in “Super,” broadens her range by playing a former drug addict who married Patrick Wilson to get a grip on her life in “The Ledge.” When these two move in down the hall from committed atheist Charlie Hunnam, who becomes Tyler’s boss when she gets a job working at the hotel he manages, things start spiraling out of control.

The movie opens, in fact, with Hunnam standing on the roof of a tall building, with policeman Terrence Howard trying to talk him down. Howard’s character, a devoted Catholic, is having his own problems, having just learned that he’s sterile. Since he and his wife have two children, this news comes as some surprise.

Hunnam (who after years of working Stateside, still occasionally lets his British accent surface) tells Howard all about how he and Tyler grew close together, despite the fact that he and Wilson had lots of arguments about whether or not there’s a god or if gay people will burn in hell. These issues could make for interesting drama, but director Matthew Chapman’s heavy-handed script gives us pat back-stories to prop up and “explain” his two-dimensional characters.

Wilson, you see, used to be a hedonist before he discovered the lord, while Hunnam’s faith was shattered when his daughter died. Because heaven forbid these two would have arrived at their conclusions via, oh, reflection or philosophical inquiry.

The four leads are such cut-outs that you really don’t care if Hunnam jumps or not. And Hunnam’s character is so flimsy that you figure that even if he does leap, he’ll float down to the street like a page from this terrible screenplay.