In a perfect world, screenwriters would be forbidden from using cute pre-teens to make up for creaky plots; Clint Eastwood would stop churning out his patented over-the-hill-but-still-tough routine; and there would be an injunction against Kevin Costner doing death scenes, especially ones as long and meandering as a cross-Texas road trip. A PERFECT WORLD starts out quite well, with Butch Haynes (Costner) and a companion breaking out of a Texas prison and, after a tense confrontation with a terrified family, making off with 7-year-old Phillip Perry (T.J. Lowther) as a hostage. Hot on their heels are an initially promising team that includes Eastwood, as grizzled Texas Ranger Red Garnett, and Laura Dern, as inexperienced but independent criminologist Sally Gerber. You know things have started to go wrong when Butch, after getting rid of his fellow escapee, starts to shape up as the loving father figure that young Phillip has never had. As Butch and the boy's drive turns into one warm, fuzzy episode after another, the team that is pursuing them comes to a physical, and dramatic, halt. With their high-tech trailer stuck in a field, Garnett and his deputies can do nothing either to pursue Butch, or to develop the character relations set up earlier. Throw in a transformation scene in which Costner turns--with a supreme lack of conviction--into a psycho killer, and you have a movie experience that's a long, long way from perfect.