**½/**** Image A+ Sound A+ Extras D
starring Kevin Costner, Dennis Quaid, Gene Hackman, Jeff Fahey
screenplay by Dan Gordon and Lawrence Kasdan
directed by Lawrence Kasdan
by Walter Chaw It seemed like a good idea at the time: Kevin Costner--still a hot commodity just four years removed from Dances with Wolves, fresh from what might be the most important film of his career (A Perfect World), and not yet stigmatized by Waterworld--reteaming with his Silverado director Lawrence Kasdan, then one of the best genre writers in Hollywood, for a biopic of the famous lawman Wyatt Earp. Unfortunately, Wyatt Earp flopped like Kurt Rambis in the paint. It was too long, too prosaic, and in what appears in retrospect to be a pathological lack of pretense, too pretentious by half. It was the first real nail in Costner's career coffin--a product of his having way too much power and way too little savvy in a cynical America that had outgrown his kind of aw-shucks long about Gary Cooper. Costner's still shouting, but it's hard to hear him from all the way back there in 1940.