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Tin Cup Review

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Am amateur golfer, who narrowly missed out on being a champion once before due his stubborn nature, decides to give professional success one last try.

★★★★

Having survived the aquatic minefield that was Waterworld with his integrity more or less intact, Kevin Costner returns to a genre he's far more adept at, namely romantic comedy, reteaming with his Bull Durham writer/director Ron Shelton for a film that reconfirms his position as both modern cinema's finest romantic leading man and a gifted comedy actor to boot.

Costner stars as Roy "Tin Cup" McAvoy, an ex-college golfing champion whose stubbornness and "inner demons" hampered his natural ability to swing a club and consequently kept him off the professional touring circuit. Now on the (fair)way to being an alcoholic, Tin Cup trades on his former glories giving lessons on a run-down driving range in the middle of rural Texas.

But when the new pscyhiatrist in town, Molly (Russo, never better) turns up one evening for a lesson, he's immediately smitten. Disavowing all the waitresses and strippers that have become his romantic stock, he sets out to woo Molly, only to find that she is already the girlfriend of top pro David Simms (Johnson, remarkably slimy), Tin Cup's former golfing partner and now a bitter rival. And after Tin Cup's normal romantic technique fails to convince, he decides that only a grand gesture will do and sets out to win the US Open, with Molly working on his inner demons, and caddie/buddy Romeo (Cheech Marin) his swing.

As much a film about golf as Bull Durham was about baseball, Tin Cup is a deliciously witty, profound, sly and erotically charged exploration of love, redemption and one man's quest for immortality.

A decidedly adult comedy, you could slice the sexual chemistry between Russo and Costner with a three iron; Johnson, meanwhile, makes a perfectly credible sleazoid; and Shelton (who co-penned the script with John Norville) keeps the humour straight down the middle and, just like Bull Durham before it, uses the rituals and metaphors of sport to relate the complexities of love and relationships. The performances throughout are spot on: Russo, so often thought of as mere decoration, shines, while Costner, after trouble with his stroke (pun most certainly intended), is once again on top of his game. Quite wonderful.

The golfing equivalent of Bull Durham - and just as enjoyable.