A feud develops between two air traffic controllers: one cocky and determined while the other is restrained and laidback, which inevitably affects their lives.A feud develops between two air traffic controllers: one cocky and determined while the other is restrained and laidback, which inevitably affects their lives.A feud develops between two air traffic controllers: one cocky and determined while the other is restrained and laidback, which inevitably affects their lives.
To it's credit `Pushing Tin' at least has an original setting - I can't recall another movie about air traffic controllers. Of course its merely a premise for male ego bating, a long running plot concept of countless movies. Here the bating takes place in trying to outdo one another in all aspects - work, social esteem and even with one another's wives. This leads us to the comedic events of this comedy. The comedy here is very soft, as the movie has a more comedy/drama mould to it than being ostensibly an all out comedy. Cusack's performance here is quite manic, as he winds himself up trying to outmatch his peer. As usual it's also quite good - Cusack has a great sense of being an actual character rather than an actor portraying a character. He works very well with the material he's given portraying a character that - while not as well drawn as his roles in such movies as `High Fidelity' and `Grosse Point Blank' - is nonetheless flawed, but still worthy. Thornton's character is the laconic counterpoint, laidback about the situation for most of the time but with a sense of energy and vitality brimming beneath. Thornton once again turns in a neat performance, with just enough character embellishments and detail to lift his character from blandness into quasi-life. Unfortunately Blanchett and Jolie - as the objects of affection - can do little with their limited material and serve merely as surfaces for the two leads to bounce off.
The problem with the movie lies in the pacing of the script. Considering the intensity of the job, there's no pressure ever evident in the movie in either the script or direction (courtesy of Mike Newell). Even the manipulation of planes, using some graphics and actual plane shots, lacks any urgency. Thus the comedy tends to amble along to a rather drab finale. The drama elements are adequate and the performances flesh out the characters, but there's not enough originality to make it avid viewing. Therefore you'd expect the comedy elements to balance it out. Alas, while there're some smiles to be had, there's very few laughing aloud moments. Sure the characters neuroses and clashes can create some amusing sparks but they're not frequent enough, nor sharp enough to sustain this movie as a comedy. Thus, overall, the movie is grand and passable but there's nothing to really warrant much of a look in, except to see the works of two strong Hollywood actors. 5/10.
- Aidan McGuinness
- Jul 5, 2002