Kevin Costner, no big deal


THE THING I want to make clear is that this is not an indictment of Kevin Costner, who happens to be a fine (if uneven) actor and not a bad fellow, once you get past his reported mood swings.

For the record, I like Kevin Costner -- even though everywhere you go it's Kevin Costner this and Kevin Costner that and he's on the cover of this magazine and doing that talk show and generally lending a whole new meaning to the term "overexposed."

But I don't begrudge him his successes. His movies have donwell. "Dances with Wolves" won a bunch of Oscars and deservedly so -- even though there was talk of a Costner associate quietly slipping envelopes containing $5,000 to the entire membership of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

In terms of scandal, I thought we were looking at the nexWatergate. But the whole investigation died a quiet death. Maybe the L.A. District Attorney's office preferred to sweep the whole thing under the rug, I don't know.

Besides, it's neither here nor there now. Kevin Costner is a bistar and could probably get away with murder, if he hasn't already.

If I have one tiny quibble with the whole Kevin Costnephenomenon (for lack of a better word), it's this: I don't see what the big deal is about his looks.

To me, the guy is very average-looking. In fact, unless the lighcatches him just so, he looks sort of puffy, as if he caught a few screen doors on his kisser as a kid.

Of course, this thinking borders on heresy to my wife, who thinkCostner is the greatest thing since the Salk vaccine.

Once, just to shake her up, I told her "Entertainment Tonightwas reporting that the man had thrown his mother down a flight of stairs.

"Hell, the old biddy probably deserved it," my wife said. And thawas the end of that conversation. So you see what we're dealing with here.

Another time I was thumbing through People or some sillmagazine, and came upon yet another fawning piece on Costner.

"Is it me," I said, "or does his face look vaguely like a bassehound's?"

Well. Apparently it was the wrong thing to say. Because witthat, my wife jumped to her feet and began ranting and raving for 20 minutes about how hot-looking Kevin Costner is.

"Gee," I said, "I'm sorry you have to live with a troll."

"OK, Mr. Robert Redford," she said. "Who do you think ihot-looking?"

Kim Basinger, I said. How can you go wrong saying KiBasinger?

But my wife jumped two feet in the air and screamed: " KiBasinger?!" As if I'd said Raymond Burr or something.

So maybe I'm not the right person to ask about who's hot-lookinand who's not.

Not that it matters what I think, as Costner is clearly huge iHollywood despite some curious career moves.

Take this new movie of his, "Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves,where Costner as Robin battles the evil Sheriff of Nottingham, has a staff fight with Maid Marian on a log across a stream, woos the beautiful Little John, etc.

Or maybe it's the other way around, I forget. The point is, it'been done a thousand times.

Stop me if you've seen any of this before: The archery conteswhere he splits the other guy's arrow (yeah, right). The whole business with Friar Tuck. The swinging from the trees and the yelling and the sword fights and the whole Merry Men thing . . . it's all been done.

Kevin, Kevin, Kevin . . . show us something new here, buddyLaser fights in Sherwood Forest. The Sheriff dealing crack in Nottinghamshire. Richard the Lion-Hearted as a frustrated rapper dreaming of playing the Apollo. Maid Marian as a hopeless anorexic who has an affair with the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Sadly, when the movie was released, none of these ideas werincorporated. And what we're left with is your garden-variety tale about a bleeding heart recluse who steals from the poor, gives to the rich, plunders the infirm, etc.

OK, there might be a glitch or two in that last sentence. But thpoint is, what is a fine (if uneven and arguably homely) actor like Kevin Costner doing in this dog?

Again, it doesn't matter what I think. The movie is breaking booffice records, even if you discount those rumors about Costner visiting the heads of the larger theater chains with bat-wielding goons andsuggesting that the receipts for "Robin Hood" come up healthy.

9- Still, you can't say enough about the guy.

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