Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. Germany/USA, 1999. 3 Miles Apart Productions Ltd., Art Linson Productions, Dogstar Films, Fox 2000 Pictures, Regency Enterprises, Taurus Film. Screenplay by Glen Charles, Les Charles, based on the article Something’s Got To Give by Darcy Frey. Cinematography by Gale Tattersall. Produced by Art Linson. Music by Anne Dudley, Adam Hamilton, Chris Seefried. Production Design by Bruno Rubeo. Costume Design by Marie-Sylvie Deveau. Film Editing by Jon Gregory.
Ensemble comedy about air traffic controllers in New Jersey and the lives they lead. John Cusack is a high-flying member of the team whose life is not seriously affected by the dangerously stressful career he engages in, one with a high suicide rate and many employees checking in to lifetime-committed therapy. In comes Billy Bob Thornton, who threatens to take over as the man to beat in the control room, and things get a little sweaty for our hero. On the side there’s Cusack’s frustrated wife (a hilarious Cate Blanchett) and Thornton’s oversexed wife (Angelina Jolie) who can’t keep anybody, especially herself, out of trouble. The situations are often funny (especially when Thornton introduces Cusack to the thrill of being blown away by jet exhaust on a runway) but the film is mostly formulaic and reminiscent of television sketch comedy (no surprise since this was written by the creators of Cheers). If you’re willing, though, the cast is good enough to merit your at least giving it a chance.