April 20, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

Codgers in the cosmos! In this more rambling than rip-roaring installment in Eastwood’s Old People Are Cool series (Unforgiven, Absolute Power, and True Crime), four retirement-age aviation pioneers (Jones, Eastwood, James Garner, and Donald Sutherland) hornswoggle their way onto the space shuttle and into orbit. (Yes, it sounds ludicrous, until you remember that NASA did launch 77-year-old Sen. John Glenn into space.) Even though Space Cowboys fails them — as directed by Clint, it takes a dog’s age to get up to speed — the graceful veterans make the journey as refreshing as Tang on a hot summer day.

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