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You've Got Mail

Starring: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan
Director: Nora Ephron
Genre: Comedy
Year: 1998
Rating: 4 / 5

Tom Hanks is a wonderful actor. He has won multiple Academy Awards, and he is considered a contender for the Best Actor Oscar every year that he performs. In spite of that, however, I prefer Tom Hanks when he does comedy. That is how it has always been, and I am afraid that that is how it always will be. When I first saw Hanks in The Money Pit, and then in Dragnet, I thought he was one of the funniest actors I had ever seen. Nothing has caused me to change that view - he simply is not afforded such opportunities anymore. That is why You've Got Mail, his third film with the ultra-peppy Meg Ryan, is such a pure delight.

Joe Fox III (Tom Hanks) is a wealthy executive for Fox Books, a superstore chain that has been in his family for years. His father, Nelson (Dabney Coleman), still runs the company, but it is merely a matter of time before Joe is handed the reins. Under development is a plan for a new Fox Books store, right across the street from Kathleen Kelly's (Meg Ryan) children's bookstore. Her store has also been in her family for years, as her mother passed it along to her when she died. Half a century the store has stood, and it is finally face-to-face with its toughest challenge.

Joe and Kathleen have more in common than their professions, however. Both are avid users of America Online (which gets an inordinate amount of publicity throughout the film), and they both seek comfort and stimulation from an on-line pen pal. What they do not realize, though, is that they have been communicating with each other for the longest time. Even as they run into each other in the real world, and as they both confront painful truths about their existing relationships, they do not realize that, in essence, they already "know" each other. It is watching this cyber-bond became an literal bond that provides the film with so much of its charm.

Director Nora Ephron brought her two Sleepless in Seattle stars back for another run, and You've Got Mail is the delightful, warm, feel-good result. Tom Hanks evokes memories of some of his early work as he displays his trademark dry wit, all the while conveying warmth and humanity as only he can. Meg Ryan, who still is not one of my favorite actresses, nonetheless manages to be both cute and endearing in this film. The two do have remarkable chemistry, though I have always tended to refer fans to Joe Vs. the Volcano rather than Sleepless in Seattle. Either way, You've Got Mail is a worthy re-teaming, and it will the leave the viewer with a laugh, a smile, and an undeniable urge to check e-mail.

Cast:
Tom Hanks..........Joe Fox III
Meg Ryan..........Kathleen Kelly
Greg Kinnear..........Frank Navasky
Parker Posey..........Patricia Eden
Dabney Coleman..........Nelson Fox

Certification: Rated PG.
Running Time: 119 minutes.

Additional Info: Internet Movie Database
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[critics]