Tin Cup re-teams director Ron Shelton with his Bull Durham star Kevin Costner. The pairing, which was stellar in 1988’s Durham, fails to rediscover the magic of that film.
That’s primarily because Roy McAvoy, the titular Tin Cup, just isn’t likable. He’s an obtuse man-child—much more akin to “Nuke” Laloosh than “Crash” Davis. And his foibles, which are on full display throughout, are never adequately addressed. One would be justified in arguing that his growth arc may actually be a negative one.
Despite that, there is fun to be had on the back nine, especially if you ignore the forced romance sub-plot; and Tin Cup is at its best when it’s tapping into the more spirited aspects and nuances of golf.
In addition, its ending holds to this day. McAvoy’s insistence on going for it all amplifies what could have been just a typical sports movie. That boldness is probably why critics appreciated it (72% on Rotten Tomatoes with 53 reviews). Audiences did, too. Though not a huge success, Tin Cup did manage to rake in $70+ million on a budget of $45 million. We’d say that’s at least a box office par.
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