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The Guardian

Stays afloat
By BRETT MICHEL  |  September 27, 2006
2.5 2.5 Stars

Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Costner in The Guardian.

Andrew Davis released The Fugitive to appreciative audiences back in 1993, and he’s been chasing box-office success ever since. With 2003’s Holes, he reached the kiddie crowd but failed to recapture a mass audience. He’s not alone. Following a string of ego-driven flops, Kevin Costner has entered middle age as a reliable actor, but no one’s noticed. Davis’s solution? Pair him with Ashton Kutcher, a pretty boy who has yet to earn anyone’s respect. If an audience materializes, they’ll witness a feature-length recruitment ad for the Coast Guard. Compared with Top Gun, this isn’t such a bad thing, as the Guard’s mission is saving lives, not taking them. After losing his crew to a fatal crash, legendary Rescue Swimmer Ben Randall (Costner) accepts a teaching job, becoming a mentor to overachieving “mermaid” Jake Fischer (Kutcher), a reminder of his younger self. Late-hour plot developments nearly sink a crowd-pleasing formula, but Davis keeps things afloat.

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