What is it about Kevin Costner that makes him so often draws him to bad movies? For whatever reason, he seems to favor unbearable roles in sappy movies, complete with overblown stories and crass sentimentality. Then, every once in a while, he comes out with a good one. Dragonfly is the latest bad movie (after the bad 3000 Miles to Graceland and good Thirteen Days) for him and feels like its trying to coast on the success of movies like The Sixth Sense. The heart of Dragonfly is about a man grieving for the loss of his wife. Certain events in his life make him begin to think that his wife may be alive and trying to reach him. Done properly, this could be a touching, suspenseful movie, but here, Dragonfly drags on increasing in implausibility.

Joe Darrow (Costner) is coping for the loss of his wife Emily (Susanna Thompson, Random Hearts, High Noon) by throwing himself into his work at a hospital. Emily worked in the pediatric oncology ward of the same hospital, but died helping sick people in South America. Strange things begin happening to Darrow. Emily's 'avatar' was a dragonfly, since she had a birthmark shaped like one on her shoulder. Now, everywhere Joe goes, he begins to see them, real or imagined. Children in the oncology ward start drawing what looks to be like a squiggly cross, which may also resemble a dragonfly. Emily's parrot begins speaking as if she arrived home. But Emily is dead (although no body was ever found) which means that Joe is crazy or this is a movie (or both). Joe's behavior becomes increasingly erratic as children he never knew seem to know that he's "Emily's Joe," and that squiggly cross appears more often. He comes to believe that she is trying to reach out to him, and he needs to find a way to contact her. As the third act nears and Joe decides to find Emily, Dragonfly loses all sense of logic and turns almost into an action movie. Heretical nuns, gun-waving pilots, fierce natives just add to the ridiculousness of the entire affair.

Everything in Dragonfly is overbearing. From director Tom Shadyac (Patch Adams, Liar, Liar) to the script by David Seltzer (Nobody's Baby, My Giant), Brandon Camp, and Mike Thompson) and especially Costner's heavy-handed performance. He reeks of melodrama, complemented by wooden performances by Joe Morton (Bounce, What Lies Beneath) and Kathy Bates (American Outlaws, Bruno). It's a shame, because Morton and especially Bates (heck, even Costner) are capable of so much better. Shadyac is trying to show the emotional struggle that Darrow is going through, but the script never allows Costner the opportunity. Dragonfly switches between supernatural thriller and tender drama without giving the viewer any time to care either way. There is a twist at the end, which makes perfect sense looking back at the beginning. Still, this 'twist' is dull enough that it makes no difference one way or another.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 30 minutes, Rated PG-13 for thematic material and mild sensuality.

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