The Guardian Andrew Davis

There’s no pressing reason to see this big pot of inspirational swill, but those who find themselves watching it might find themselves bemusedly entertained.

Kevin Costner plays one of his trademarked "grizzled men of action” as a veteran Coast Guard rescue swimmer who loses his crew in a freak accident. After the tragedy, he’s sent to recuperate by training new recruits for his program. There, he meets super-cocky newbie Ashton Kutcher, who flaunts his swimming prowess and generally annoys Costner, until, of course, the "shocking revelation of past trauma” is revealed. Many poolside shenanigans ensue, and would it be revealing too much to say there’s a bar with an impossibly wise barkeep that offers sage advice?

There are absolutely no surprises in this standard "military as character builder” drama, including the bar where everybody hangs out and the saucy young woman (Melissa Sagemiller) with whom Kutcher falls in love, but somehow the film’s dopey enthusiasm kept me going to the singularly ludicrous coda. After scores of films that listlessly put forward agendas about which they don’t really care, here’s a movie that earnestly invests in every single bad idea it has. And for those of us who have to suffer the slings and arrows of films lacking conviction, it’s just enough to keep us interested.

To be sure, this isn’t a "real” movie and anyone looking for something genuinely creative is advised to keep looking. But for those who must dote on the solemnly dumb, this is manna from heaven. And incredibly, Kutcher acquits himself quite well in a role that many would have thought to be out of his range. It isn’t much, but these are desperate times. (Touchstone/Buena Vista)