Cinema: Pushing Tin

Directed by Mike Newell

Air-traffic controllers are the true macho men of sky biz--cowboy choreographers who get the dozens of planes over New York City's airports "lined up like Rockettes." As long as Glen and Les Charles' script focuses on the controllers' wayward bravado, the film has the tang of an old Howard Hawks film about tough guys under pressure. But like its frazzled hero, Nick (John Cusack), this ambitious, well-cast movie goes haywire when Nick's rivalry with psycho-genius Billy Bob Thornton turns into a game of sexual oneupsmanship. Tin tailspins into silliness and never regains its flight pattern.

--R.C.

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