Tin Cup (15) Warner Home Video, rental, 11 April.
Without real athletes, sports movies generally work best when they're dealing with social peripheries of the game: the locker-room politics, combustible managers, wives and ragtag supporters. Few directors are better at handling this milieu than Ron Shelton, director of this smart and funny romantic comedy, which sees Kevin Costner as a gifted but hot-headed amateur, going to seed on a run-down golf range somewhere on the outskirts of Hicksville. Enter love interest Renne Russo and old rival Don Johnson (well cast as a slimy slacks-and-polo-shirt man) to rouse Tin Cup from his beery stupor and get him reaching for his irons. A film that makes golf sexy - no mean feat.
Courage Under Fire (15) FoxGuild, rental, 14 April. Meg Ryan, better known as the ditz-princess of romantic comedy, stars as a winsome chopper pilot in this war drama. Donning combat fatigues and prettily smudged make-up in a blatant (and unsuccessful) bid for Oscar- winning seriousness, Ryan plays Karen Walden, killed in the Gulf war and up for a bravery medal if Colonel Sterling (Denzel Washington) decides she's worthy. To do so, he must sift through conflicting reports of her final rescue mission, which means a flashback fest of feisty Ryan versus chicken-shit Ryan. The message is that reality depends on your perspective. Director Edward Zwick's film could probably be best described as glib, sentimental and deeply unconvincing.
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