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|Posted Oct. 9, 2006|
Want to see a two-hour-long U.S. Coast Guard recruitment video? Go see “The Guardian.”
But if you’ve already decided the Coast Guard isn’t for you, neither is this movie.
Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher star in director Andrew Davis’ latest bore-fest.
Costner plays seasoned rescue swimmer Ben Randall, who after years of saving lives, is questioning his job. He risks his life on a daily basis and has no time to spend with his wife Helen, played by Sela Ward.
She leaves him one day when she’s been ignored enough.
To make things worse for Randall, he loses his best friend and partner Carl Billings shortly after losing his wife.
He freaks out and gets reassigned as an instructor at “A” School, the training program that turns recruits into rescue swimmers.
This is where superstar swim team champion Jake Fischer, played by Kutcher, comes into the picture.
His character is far from likeable, so if you need another reason to hate Ashton Kutcher, this film will do the job.
In one of his first scenes, Kutcher asks who the guy is that holds all the swim records at “A” School, because he’s “about to knock his name off that wall.” Obviously, that guy is Costner and he just happens to be standing in the back of the room when he’s introduced as the senior instructor.
This is where the movie deteriorated into a glorified recruitment video. At one point, the filming style changes to a hand-held camera with close-ups of the recruits underwater practicing rescue techniques.
Once that was over and the predictable story kicked back in, viewers were treated to one of the worst crying scenes in the history of film.
After getting beat up in a bar by some Navy dorks, Kutcher is taken into Costner’s office where they have a heart-to-heart. Costner tries to figure Kutcher out, because he’s a great swimmer and athlete, but he has no team spirit.
This is where we learn about Kutcher’s dark secret: he lost a group of friends in a car accident that he blames himself for. Costner tries to convince him it’s not his fault and Kutcher starts crying, displaying how incapable of being a believable actor he truly is.
It seemed like at any point, Kutcher would stop crying and yell, “You just got punk’d!” at Coster. Unfortunately this never happened and the movie just kept going.
After this scene, the two go out to the bar where Kutcher got beat up and, as predictable as anything, Costner beats up the bad guy for Kutcher.
Also weaved into the film is a love story between Kutcher and Melissa Sagemiller, who plays schoolteacher Emily Thomas.
Eventually Kutcher graduates as a rescue swimmer, goes on the job with Costner and proves himself worthy of being a capable rescuer. Costner, on the other hand, shows how old and incompetent he is. Costner suffers from a flashback of his best friend dying and Kutcher has to snap him out of it to save two kayakers.
The movie continues on to the predictable ending with Kutcher saving the day.
The casting of Kutcher as the co-star is questionable because of his poor performances in the past and show “Punk’d.” It’s hard to feel any emotion for Kutcher’s character because it’s difficult to see through Kutcher’s poor acting. Costner is more believable but that comes from his experience as an actor.
Hopefully Kutcher sticks to television where the acting doesn’t matter.
Eric Iberri can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.