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3000 Miles to Graceland

Kurt Russell and Kevin Costner match wits (and sideburns) as two ex-cons chasing the Benjamins - and each other.


Former cellmates Michael (Russell) and Murphy (Costner) are leaders of a posse that plans to pull off the heist of a lifetime: robbing the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas during International Elvis Week. This means, of course, adopting full-on spangled jumpsuits, sunglasses and "thank yuh, thank yuh vurry much"-es. But when Murphy turns against the crew to keep all the loot for himself, Michael escapes with it instead and heads for the border to launder it. He's sidelined along the way by a dalliance with a grifter (Courteney Cox) and her young son. Meanwhile, Murphy's hot on his trail.


Costner turned down the chance to play Russell's part to take on the villain instead - and he looks like he's having the time of his life. Less filled out but more amoral than his baddie in the underrated "A Perfect World," Costner bats well as a foil to Russell, who shows a barely visible vulnerability under the necessary roughness. Cox, to her credit, does a complete 180 from her uptight role on "Friends" as the sexually aggressive con-chick Cybil. Christian Slater, David Arquette and Bokeem Woodbine make small appearances as part of the Elvis crew, Howie Long and Ice-T kick some tail, and Kevin Pollak and the long-absent Thomas Haden Church ("Wings") provide comic relief as bumbling lawmen.


"3000 Miles to Graceland" may seem like a caper reminiscent of last month's "Snatch," except there's a lot of bloodshed, particularly during the casino robbery, where machine gun blasts fling people across the room to land on cha-ching!-ing slot machines. Novice director Demian Lichtenstein's music video background is evident in his Guy Ritchie-esque cuts, zooms, and a way-bizarre computerized scorpion fight that kicks off the movie (what was that about?). His style and the Vegas ambience give the film a kitschy edge that disappears once the guys shed their Elvis garb. Stay for the credits - you'll see a costumed Russell lip-synching in his own music video as Costner, Cox and crew dance about.

Bottom Line

Provides laughs and mindless bloody fun. But ultimately, like Elvis's white pantsuit, it's big on flash and tacky overall.