The undisputed king of the cornball concept, Kevin Costner has an uncanny aptitude for gravitating toward the dopiest projects in sight, but this time he’s outdone himself. A Chicago doctor in charge of emergency services, he’s been traumatized by the loss of his saintly wife, who’s died on a medical mission to Venezuela; convinced that she’s trying to speak to him through various near-death patients, he awaits the confirmation of his mystic theories that only bad movies can bring. The clunky script is by David Seltzer, Brandon Camp, and Mike Thompson, and someone at Universal must have decided the ideal director for such a delicate topic was Tom Shadyac, best known for the inimitable fart jokes of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Eddie Murphy’s The Nutty Professor. The secondary cast includes such talented hands as Linda Hunt and Kathy Bates, who labor admirably but can’t save the patient. 103 min. (JR)

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