Tommy Lee Jones is a Texas ranger assigned to protect some cheerleaders who've witnessed a murder pretty much writes itself, right? ''It's very simple,'' says director Stephen Herek (Rock Star). ''It's a fish-out-ofwater movie, obviously.''
Still, Herek didn't have the easiest time wrestling this action comedy into shape. The project, which began as a Midnight Run-style chase movie, bounced from Warner Bros. to Revolution Studios, where it became something ''more along the lines of Witness,'' Herek says (but, you know, funnier and with pom-pom girls instead of Amish folk). Then, when no one could agree on an ending, Herek went ahead and shot the movie without one, bringing everyone back a few months later once inspiration had struck.
The trickiest thing for the director, though, may have been dealing with a star who's often more bah-humbug than sisboom-bah. ''Some days Tommy is how do I put this?'' he says carefully. ''Sometimes you're not sure what guy you're going to get on a certain day.'' So is the tetchy Texan getting more comfortable yukking it up? ''Hell, I don't know,'' Jones grumbles. ''If the audience will laugh and I happen to be there, then I feel pretty good.''