Mixed or average reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 29
  2. Negative: 4 out of 29
  1. It succeeds because of the frenzied, kinetic direction by Mike Newell, one of the most interesting big-hit directors.
  2. Takes viewers into a unique world. It's not just about air traffic controllers. It's about controllers in a specific place and from a specific social background.
  3. An entertaining takeoff and a high-altitude ride eventually runs into some bumpy weather and a clumsy landing in Mike Newell's new comedy.
  4. 75
    The movie is worth seeing, for the good stuff. I'm recommending it because of the performances and the details in the air-traffic control center.
  5. 70
    Almost always a pleasure to watch. Pushing Tin is, essentially, a western -- Cusack really is the fastest gun in the West.
  6. Uneven but fitfully entertaining.
  7. One of the most discouraging things about many big studio movies is the way they waste resources, mainly talent and money. Pushing Tin manages to waste an excellent cast, a glossy production and what initially seems to be a bright, funny script. [23 April 1999, Friday, p.A]
  8. Newell's ensemble timing and breezily sardonic style make it work better than might be expected.
  9. It's an intriguing film, one of the year's most interesting, but involving as much of it is, it leaves an unsatisfied taste when it's over.
  10. 60
    A mess, but for the most part it's a fascinating mess. It helps that it boasts great acting all around--not just from Cusack, Thornton, and Jolie, but also from Cate Blanchett
  11. Makes you wish that Newell and company had had the gumption to finish what they so enticingly started.
  12. Bids for originality by focusing on an offbeat profession. Every other aspect is pretty stale, though, from the smart-alecky characters to the romantic-triangle plot.
  13. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Top-flight cast.
  14. 50
    It's a glorious mess, though, with genuine bits of comic genius strewn amidst the rubble, not unlike a plane crash in its own way.
  15. 50
    The premise is inherently interesting, but the screenplay (by Glen & Les Charles) is unwilling to take chances. Instead, it uses stock events to push events forward.
  16. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Unfortunately, story's tension climaxes a half-hour before the film is over, and thereafter dissipates much of the charge and good will generated up to that point.
  17. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    You're not sure where it's headed, but with an ensemble this good the aimlessness seems invigorating. It's when the plot kicks in that Newell's movie gets less interesting. It's frustrating to see such a promising premise, and such a delightful cast, wasted.
  18. The only thing that keeps the proceedings bearable is the cast gamely rolling with all the shameless sitcom punches the script keeps throwing at them.
  19. Reviewed by: Hal Hinson
    Ultimately, though, it is Angelina Jolie who ends up stealing the show. As Mary, she lets her eyelids droop and her lower lip swell as if she were just so full of sex that she's almost drunk.
  20. Does have one saving grace, however. As Nick's long-suffering wife, Blanchett gives the movie some badly needed charisma, and its one point of sympathy -- even nobility.
  21. Pushing Tin pivots on our dubious fascination with professional erection duels, which are a sad substitute for dramatic conflict.
  22. 40
    Contrived, meandering, clichéd and just plain preposterous.
  23. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Tin tailspins into silliness and never regains its flight pattern.
  24. 40
    The clichéd macho silliness of the picture gets to be infuriating after a while.
  25. Not every stupid film sets out to be that way. But a furious zeal to entertain, especially to find twists, can push filmmakers past credibility, past twist, even past social decency. A dreadful example is Pushing Tin.
  26. The movie's fundamental problem is that Cusack's character isn't very interesting.
  27. Reviewed by: Anthony Miele
    Uneven, unfocused and boring. It is listed as a "black comedy" and while there are humorous moments you will not be laughing much.
  28. A fast-paced, twisty-turny, high-fiving, but ultimately spiraling disaster of a movie about air traffic controllers, gets lost in this hyperbolic cloud cover, never to be found again.

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