John Cusack should be a huge movie star. Handsome in a non-threatening way, charismatic, likable even when playing unsympathetic characters, and a fine actor to boot, he's probably one key role away from being a superstar. Still, despite all that Cusack has going for him, he's only really been in a handful of films that have showcased his talents to good effect. And while the unfortunately titled Pushing Tin is a better Cusack vehicle than, say, Con Air or True Colors, it relies far too heavily on his remarkable lead performance to overcompensate for an incredibly uneven script. Operating as sort of a more subdued Neighbors for the late '90s, the film tells the story of a hotshot air-traffic controller (Cusack) whose career and manhood are threatened by the arrival of an older, calmer air-traffic controller (Billy Bob Thornton), with whose depressed young wife (Angelina Jolie) Cusack has an ill-fated fling. Pushing Tin begins as a dark, hyperactive ensemble comedy, but with the arrival of Thornton, it shifts focus and becomes a constricted, claustrophobic depiction of its main character's declining mental state. Pushing Tin changes focus so frequently over the course of its two hours that it sometimes feels like a number of different movies condensed into one. Director Mike Newell (Amazing Grace And Chuck, Donnie Brasco) and screenwriters Glen and Les Charles consistently display a disconcerting willingness to sacrifice the film's integrity for cheap sitcom punchlines, but things don't really fall apart until a woefully unconvincing final half hour that stretches the film's already-shaky credibility past its breaking point. Pushing Tin is a mess, but for the most part it's a fascinating mess. It helps that it boasts great acting all around—not just from Cusack, Thornton, and Jolie, but also from Cate Blanchett, who turns in an understated and unglamorous performance as Cusack's sensible wife.