AT FIRST SIGHT -- ** -- Val Kilmer, Mira Sorvino, Nathan Lane, Kelly McGillis, Steven Weber, Bruce Davison, Ken Howard; rated PG-13 (profanity, sex, nudity, violence); Carmike Cottonwood Mall and Ritz 15 Theaters; Century Theatres 16; Gateway 8 Cinemas; Loews Cineplex Midvalley, South Towne Center and Trolley Square Mall Cinemas; Reel Theaters."At First Sight" might have made a pretty good 45-minute movie. Unfortunately, the movie is at least an hour longer than that.

That's not to say the subject matter -- a sight-impaired man regains full vision through surgery -- is undeserving of a feature-length motion picture. In fact, the first section of the film is quite good. But things are botched during a protracted second half, which essentially undoes everything that has gone before.

And while that's no real surprise, given the filmmaker (erratic producer/director Irwin Winkler), it is a distinct disappointment.

For one thing, there's a talented cast on-board (including Val Kilmer, Mira Sorvino, Nathan Lane and Kelly McGillis), and the source material is even more revered. (The film is based on "To See and Not See," one of several true stories from the well-regarded book, "An Anthropologist on Mars," by Oliver Sacks.)

As mentioned, this is an intriguing premise, made even more so by casting Kilmer as Virgil Adamson, a masseur living in upstate New York. Blind since childhood, Virgil is content with his existence -- until he meets Amy Benic (Sorvino).

Amy, a highly strung Manhattan architect, comes to Virgil for much-needed relaxation. But she gets even more from his calming presence, and the two quickly fall in love.

However, Virgil's overly protective sister, Jennie (McGillis), is suspicious of the woman's motives, which seem to be borne out when Amy convinces him to have surgery -- in an attempt to restore his sight.

Despite Jennie's protests, Virgil goes under the knife. And though the surgery is a success, he has a hard time adjusting to his restored visual perception.

With help from a vision therapist (Lane), Virgil does adjust, although he sees some things he wishes he hadn't -- such as an act of affection between Amy and her ex-boyfriend (Steven Weber).

Not too surprisingly, Kilmer and Sorvino make an appealing on-screen couple, and their romance (in the film's early sections) is convincing, and even a mite touching. However, it's undone by contrived plotting from first-time screenwriter Steve Levitt, who seems to be writing for a daytime soap opera instead of a dramatic film.

It doesn't help that Winkler ("The Net") drives home each point with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. And Mark Isham's heavy-handed musical score only worsens that problem.

"At First Sight" is rated PG-13 for profanity, a couple of sex scenes, female nudity (Sorvino and the obligatory strip-club scene), and some violent thrashing.