You’ve Got Mail

Stars: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan

It’s hard not to like a film starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. The have great chemistry together. Obviously the producers think so since this is at least the third film in which they’ve been paired. They make a cute couple. He does his best sympathetic, boyish, befuddled characterization and she’s just terrific as the vulnerable, kooky, teary-eyed girl next door type. They’ve played them before with great effect.

“You’ve Got Mail” introduces Joe Fox and Kathleen Kelly as competitors in the world of bookselling. She owns the tiny but charming “Shop Around the Corner”, a children’s bookstore handed down from her mother that is facing obliteration at the hands of the Fox family’s behemoth discount bookstore – the kind that sells cappuccinos and pastries next to the magazine section.

Each is engaging in an email relationship without knowing any specifics about his or her mouse-pal. The romance grows and eventually Joe finds out that it is his bookselling enemy Kathleen who rules his heart over the internet. He is torn by the discovery, yet nonetheless pursues it, manipulating events to keep the truth covered until the right moment.

The film is cute, although the set up is longer than it needs to be. I found it ironic that the same character who rails constantly against the big chain stores (Kathleen) buys her coffee everyday from Starbucks. Producer, writer, director Nora Ephron dropped the ball on that one.

Lotta says as far as romantic comedies go, this one is pleasant and fans of Hanks and Ryan won’t be disappointed. But I think it’s the same kind of fare we’ve digested many times before.