Men of Honor

Rated 2.0 Cuba Gooding Jr. stars in the true-life story of Carl Brashear, the first African-American in the elite ranks of U.S. Navy divers, knocking heads with Robert De Niro as the redneck training instructor who don’t want no colored boys in his diving school. True story, perhaps, but Scott Marshall Smith’s script has too many climaxes, too far apart, and the film is overlong and riddled with triumph-over-adversity and grudging-respect-between-enemies clichés. The star power of Gooding and De Niro makes it watchable in spurts, although they both overdo the angry bulldog frown. (Why do so many actors think that a grimace makes them look “military?” Don’t they know anyone in the armed forces?) Aunjanue Ellis and Charlize Theron, as Gooding and De Niro’s wives, are little more than window dressing.