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Directed by Ron Shelton (1996, Warner Bros.)
Starring Kevin Costner, Rene Russo, and Don Johnson

A driving range pro falls for a rival's girlfriend, and tries to win the US Open to show her that he is the better man.



3 stars

September 4th, 2000 on TV  

On first thought, this was quite romantic, with good actors, and some genuinely funny moments.  However, the dim-witted, arrogant personality began to wear thin around the mid-point.  Still, most of the situations were well developed, and the acting was solid throughout. 

The barbs that were swung between the golfing range workers were perfectly timed, and sounded quite real, especially when Russo's character Molly appears for a golf lesson.  "Tin Cup" immediately falls for her, but it turns out that she is dating his big rival.  So to show him what kind of guy he is, he decided that he has to win the US Open.  Cup will be a completely unknown, while his old friend is in contention for the title. 

There follow a series of funny and not-so-funny moments, when Cup tries to get over his feelings of inadequacy.  He hires Molly as his mental support (she's a shrink), and his best buddy Romeo as his caddy, because the guy knows swings like nobody else.  But the disagreements come quickly, because Cup has his own style, which is contrary to most styles out there.  He would rather go through or over the woods than play a dogleg hole.  He ends up breaking all of his clubs, except for his seven iron, which he says that he always plays well.  Indeed, he pars the back end of the course with only that club!

But as the Open approaches, he begins to lose control of his game, which apparently always happens when he gets close to the big finish.  Romeo figures that it's Molly who is on his mind, and distracts him enough that he hits some solid shots. 

And Tin Cup is never one to shy away from a bet.  He knows that he's the best shot out of all the players, but nobody believes he can make a near impossible shot through a bar to hit a pelican perch outside when Molly makes that bet.  So he does it. 

But what sways her towards Cup is more than just his charm and his ability, but the truth when he tells her that her current boyfriend is mean to children, old people and dogs when the camera is not on him.  And behind the scenes, when an old man and his wife and grandson ask for an autograph, he takes one look at them and the little dog they are holding, and brushes them off.  Molly is witness to this, and decides to switch camps.  This leads to a funny scene where Romeo is left out in the rain while Cup and Molly take to the Winabeggo's bed.

In the end, the writers decided to go for a different kind of climax to the show.  Neither Cup nor his rival end up winning the Open.  The momentous occasion occurs when Cup plays the eighteenth hole for the third time, and sinks his ball into the water for the third time.  He knows that he can make the shot, but every shot goes into the water, some rolling off the green, some not even making it that far.  All the other players played it safe, and took an extra stroke to make the green, but Cup takes shot after shot.  Finally, one of the balls makes it to the green, and not only stays there, but rolls right into the hole. 

It is a terrific moment.  Cup thinks he blew the whole tournament, but Molly reminds him that whenever people think of this year's Open, they will not remember the person who won it, but they will certainly remember the 12 that he shot on that one hole!  Plus, with his score, he still qualified for next year's tournament!

The movie was full of funny spots, but they didn't add up to more than that.  It was cute, and the characters were cute.  But also important was the quality of the production.  There was very little to complain about, and little felt off.  And they managed to make a very interesting movie revolving around golf, which is no small feat.


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