Movie Review 2008 #28: You’ve Got Mail

The romantic comedy from the 90’s, starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, with Greg Kinnear, Parker Posey, Jean Stapleton, David Chappelle, and Dabney Coleman.


Watching the movie again, I enjoyed it, even if its somewhat dated in terms of technology, and I deduced a sort of creepy aspect to the entire romance between the main characters.
Ryan plays Kathleen Kelly, owner of a small children’s bookstore has an email penpal relationship with a mysterious and unknown friend. Hanks plays Joe Fox, scion of the Fox Books superstores, who is about to open a branch right across the corner from Kelly’s little store. A harbringer of doom for the little bookstore which can’t afford a coffee bar or to discount books as Fox does.
What Kelly and Fox don’t know (at first for the latter) is that they are the falling-for-each-other penpals as well as the business rivals…
The movie is funny and poignant, in the “romcom” sort of vein. The characters do talk about fate and destiny and other such natterings that frankly annoy the more cynical and practical.
The leads and their supporting cast do a very good job. Ephron knows how to get good results out of her cast, especially Hanks and Ryan.
Where the movie falls down a bit, I think, is in two aspects.
First, the romance between Joe and Kathleen as themselves (as opposed to their online personas) seemed somewhat short and didn’t quite work for me. I could see Joe’s side of it, since (a bit of a spoiler) he becomes aware that Kathleen IS his penpal. I just don’t quite see how Kathleen manages to fall for Joe, especially because of the business animosity.
The second bit is that, once Joe does find out who Kelly is, he does seem to play with her as regards to her online penpal. It seemed slightly cruel the way he talks about him in the third person. I see where Ephron was trying to go with it, but it felt a bit creepy on this viewing.
Still…with a good cast, snappy dialogue, and wonderful chemistry between the actors (not just Ryan and Hanks mind you), the movie seems destined to hold a place for when someone is in the mood for unabashed, romantic comedy. At least, it does to me.