Frank Farmer is hired as a bodyguard for international pop singer Rachel Marron, but soon finds himself falling for her.
Originally penned by Lawrence Kasdan for Steve McQueen back in the late 60s, this absurd piece of entertaining fluff passed through a number of hands over the last 25 years — at one stage nearly turning into yet another Madonna disaster — before ending up in the firm grip of one Kevin Costner and his merry men at TIG Productions. True to form, Costner insisted on the unlikely figure of Whitney Houston in the central diva role, opted for the unflattering Presumed Innocent crewcut, brought in a relatively low-profile director in L.A. Story's Mick Jackson, and — hey presto! — yet another enormous worldwide hit rolled out of the factory gates.
The story is, of course, preposterous. Top pop singer Rachel Marron receives death threats, reluctantly hires ace bodyguard Frank Farmer to look after her, singer meets bodyguard, bodyguard sleeps with singer, singer and bodyguard fall out, fall in again, go to a log cabin in the snow, go to the Oscars, and it all sort of ends happily ever after, except for Gary Kemp. Along the route of this eminently predictable nonsense, however, a number of less obvious developments occur. Houston, for instance, is really rather excellent in her first movie role, entirely convincing as the bitch-cow-diva-from-hell-with-customary-heart-of-gold, and singing throughout with a voice that sounds as if it was manufactured some place close to heaven. Similarly, Costner is here less punchable than on recent outings, his customary weary air of resignation sitting well on this particular character's broad shoulders, while even the well-signposted ending, a tremendous exercise in movie cliche, still manages to stir the heart as the strains of the longest-running chart-topping ditty blast across the runway. If that particular song, that particular image, tend to stick in the throat, then the whole thing is very likely not for you. If, on the other hand, you still find yourself humming along at the oddest moments, then The Bodyguard will have you laughing and crying into your takeaway.
Its popularity continues to confound critics everywhere.