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Overall Rating

Awesome: 13.68%
Worth A Look: 23.08%
Just Average: 12.82%
Pretty Crappy27.35%
Sucks: 23.08%

5 reviews, 87 user ratings

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You've Got Mail
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Return to sender."
2 stars

At the risk of sounding impatient, I have to ask: How many more times are we going to have to watch Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan figure out they're in love? Don't they know they're Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan?

We got it (even if we didn't want it) the first time, in 1993's Sleepless in Seattle (which was also directed by Nora Ephron). Hanks and Ryan then moved on to other roles, and yet here they are again in You've Got Mail, forced into one contrived situation after another so that they'll remain apart until the epiphany of the final scene, in which they realize that, yes, they are in a Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan romantic comedy directed by Nora Ephron.

I didn't much care for Sleepless in Seattle, but at least that story had a genuine emotional pull: Hanks, a recent widower sick with love for his dead wife, attracts Ryan, who yearns for that kind of passion in her own life. You've Got Mail, by contrast, offers nothing except a plot jerry-rigged to keep Tom and Meg apart -- not physically this time, but emotionally. The story has been lifted from the Ernst Lubitsch classic The Shop Around the Corner, in which James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan didn't realize that their secret love-letter pen pals were actually each other. Stewart and Sullavan, working together in a Budapest leather shop, had a combative rapport that even in 1940 translated as erotic tension.

Ephron's updating of this material falls flat. Hanks owns a big bookstore chain that threatens to put Ryan's tiny children's-book shop out of business. Why? Perhaps so that Ephron could vent her feelings about big business driving out small business -- but in that case, why are we encouraged to sympathize with Hanks' character? It could turn out to be a bad strategy: I could sense people in the audience getting rigid with disapproval -- after all, most of us have seen beloved shops wither and die when a big chain opens nearby. The dialogue circles around the issue every which way, and Hanks' culpability in putting people out of work is never resolved. The movie simply bites off more than it can chew.

As for the e-mail update of the story: God knows people in real life form emotional attachments based on electronic correspondence, but the word for such attachment isn't usually "love." Closer to the truth might be "delusion," or at least wishful thinking. At best, it can be a good way to make pen pals. But to fall in love with someone based on e-mail? There's not even a tactile engagement with the person -- no letters to save in a special box, no handwriting to examine (does she dot her i's with circles? do his lines slant upward or downward?). Ephron doesn't seem aware that love via e-mail is a depressing subject for a movie -- one can imagine what Todd Solondz (Happiness) might do with it.

I see that I haven't talked much about the plot, but there really isn't one; as I said, it's just a series of grievances and misunderstandings postponing the inevitable. Without giving anything away, I'll just say that there was a moment when I thought Ephron would surprise us -- but she doesn't. Once a talented essayist, Ephron seems to have lost her taste and intelligence when she began writing for Hollywood. She still directs a movie by shoehorning one oldie after another onto the soundtrack, and she still depends far too much on star power to put her unexceptional dialogue across. (Having characters drop names like Foucault and Heidegger is literary dialogue, not literate dialogue.) There's literally nothing to say about the performances: Tom does his Tom thing, and Meg does her Meg thing.

Nothing in 'You've Got Mail' can touch the heartbreaking moment in 'The Shop Around the Corner' when Margaret Sullavan calls James Stewart "an insignificant clerk" and he looks stricken. There's a similar scene here when Meg tells Tom off, and he looks stricken too. But all I could think was, She's got a point.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=185&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/17/07 22:33:16
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User Comments

2/07/17 Suzanne one of my favorites; LOVE Meg and Tom together 5 stars
1/22/11 justjen Hate! When Meg learns Tom has been deceiving her, why isn't she furious? I sure would be. 2 stars
1/09/11 Pamela White cute, predictable and good when your on the couch sick 3 stars
10/22/09 the dork knight thoroughly uncreative, dull and pointless. 1 stars
3/23/09 erina movies is reallly dumb. Stupid stupid boring movie Watch shop around the corner. 1 stars
3/28/08 Renzo Jjust another corny chick flick 2 stars
12/25/07 Lily Ponds Its one big ad for big business killing small. It made me sick. 1 stars
12/22/07 Marķa Aurora I simply love it!!! So much fun, and such a sweet movie. 5 stars
5/01/07 Tiffany i really liked it. 4 stars
9/11/06 Charles Tatum Hanks is fine, Ryan is annoying, the film is predictable 3 stars
9/03/06 michelebspy Short lived comedy. Hello, the dial up went out of style a long time ago 3 stars
3/30/06 Amy Allen I thought it was a very good movie 4 stars
3/27/06 Brian Meyer Sleepless in Seattle Version 2.0 BORE!!! 3 stars
1/06/06 Jin Nearly unwatchable. Total cornball and fluff. Painful dialogue 2 stars
12/28/05 asf it's genius. sorry. 5 stars
8/30/05 ES Sleepless in Seattle two, as if we needed a sequel to the blandest romance ever 1 stars
11/21/04 Pablo Gimenez Great romance and also a definetly realistic situation where business are unethical 5 stars
10/31/04 DJ Shut the fuck up WWWOOO fucktard, this was a funny movie NOW WHAT COCKFUCK!!?? 4 stars
8/06/04 conor great awful 2 stars
7/25/04 Melissa Feels like watching a romantic classic 4 stars
6/12/04 John so far fetched it's neever believable for one moment 1 stars
3/17/04 Nevz I thought it was good 4 stars
1/02/04 beautie total crappppp!!!! 1 stars
11/05/03 Monster W. Kung "will be a classic one day"... BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! 1 stars
9/07/03 Amanda will be a classic one day. Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks are always great together 5 stars
7/19/03 R.W. Welch Well enough done but once you get the premise you know exactly where its going. 3 stars
7/08/03 natasha_theobald I can't believe how bad it really is - hard to watch them do this 2 stars
5/17/03 George Jung Formulated crap. Did anyone actually expect a good movie when they entered the theater? 3 stars
3/23/03 Jack Sommersby Overly calculated, contextually empty, and just plain uninvolving. 1 stars
3/01/03 Goku's Girl Haven't seen the movie, but I heard Sean Schemmel is in it, - is he??? 5 stars
10/25/02 British Meg Fan This was so good!! MR at her best. I can't wait for In The Cut...a whole change for Meg... 5 stars
5/12/02 Dark Baron Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan?! Again?!! Even if they were emailing dirty talk and porn ..... 2 stars
11/26/01 KMG Shiiiiiit! Meg Ryan is a fucking mop-headed princess! 1 stars
9/23/01 Monster W. Kung They use AOL, 'nuff said. 2 stars
9/02/01 Butterbean Meg Ryan being cute..but this time, she wasn't annoying. It was a good movie 4 stars
8/07/01 Mr. Hat Really fun. Even better than the first "Shop Around The Corner." 4 stars
7/08/01 J I wanted to like this I REALLY WANTED TO LIKE THIS! But it just wasn't funny. 2 stars
6/19/01 Elvisfan Egregious actors in a sap-fest. Enjoyed my last sunburn alot more 1 stars
6/11/01 Jake What was I thinking when I went to see this? Too cutesy, like Ryan. 2 stars
5/31/01 ny152uk2001 A modern day classic 5 stars
5/12/01 The Moorhen Not bad - could have been better. 3 stars
4/09/01 Gary Good movie. Hanks and Ryan go great together. 5 stars
2/21/01 Steve in Prague will Tom Hanks please DIE..overrated actor 1 stars
1/13/01 Avenger Girl Not as good as I thought it would be. Boring in parts 3 stars
12/26/00 Turtle Funny and charming. A fantastic movie! 5 stars
11/27/00 Cristopher Revilla i hate this piece of shit, tom, meg, wake up!!!! 1 stars
11/04/00 Gray Weak plot, weak characters and Tom Hanks -the most overrated actor EVER. Shit. 1 stars
9/02/00 Sentimental Mike This is the ultimate movie for a Romantic. It's beautiful from beginning to end 5 stars
8/27/00 Mr Durden Good, but unoriginal 4 stars
10/11/99 Weird Andy Date movies make me vomit. Next time, I'll just get her drunk. 1 stars
10/07/99 sophia962 Tom Hanks. All you need to know. 5 stars
7/23/99 Hagbard Celine Meg Ryan, that sleazy whore! I'd rather spend a couple of hours looking at net porn. 1 stars
7/10/99 Keith Unfortunately, the chemistry between Hanks and Ryan was not toxic enough to kill them! 1 stars
7/04/99 J-Dogg NOT AGAIN! 1 stars
6/29/99 hum its hanks and ryan.its kind of a remake of shop around the corner.its what you expect 4 stars
6/05/99 kmk am I the only one who thinks no way she falls in love with that guy??? 2 stars
6/01/99 Tristynn Loved it..almost as good as sleepless..a great romantic movie.. 4 stars
4/14/99 Jon Jackson I've been to worse date flicks 3 stars
3/06/99 malin it was like I thought.. but OK! You must love Meg Ryan... 4 stars
3/03/99 Sandra "The movie is deffidently watchable,that's about it!" 4 stars
3/02/99 Rachel decent, but I thought Posey could have more convincingly played Hanks' daughter! 4 stars
3/01/99 M Cocolis a little slow, but okay... 3 stars
3/01/99 Goombah Insipid 2 stars
2/26/99 Kenda Literally, the most boring movie I have EVER seen. 1 stars
2/23/99 Melissa Anne Very Charming! 4 stars
2/22/99 Jeff HOUN YUK, movie dragged ALOT, this could have been done a helluva lot better, borderline sucks 2 stars
1/23/99 Hannah Better than Seattle (not saying much). I did enjoy it, though. 4 stars
1/18/99 Mark Hannig Good date movie, take your significant other with. Very much a feel good movie. 4 stars
1/16/99 amos pretty boring....thats all i got to say about it 2 stars
1/13/99 Bob Do ya think they could write an original story. 3 stars
1/10/99 Jaime The dynamic-duo of Tom and Meg didnt shine as bright as "Sleepless"...boring! 3 stars
1/10/99 twisted barbie cute...a little too cute 2 stars
1/09/99 Suzz fun flick 4 stars
1/09/99 Chris Tom and Meg make a good couple 5 stars
1/07/99 JC Good movie, but unrealistic 4 stars
1/06/99 Sarah Roebuck I thought great they finally got together but, totally unrealistic in our world sigh!! 4 stars
1/05/99 E So cute it's prone to cause nausea. 1 stars
1/04/99 JLB Thouroughly enjoyable, though not cutting edge (it's not intended to be) 5 stars
1/02/99 Dasha Quite enjoyable, but definitely not worth my $10. 3 stars
1/01/99 MFGIT A 90-min ad for AOL starring Hanks/Ryan? Truly the world is as Sodom. 1 stars
12/31/98 Jack Ripper Meg Ryan's bitchiness never fails to come through. Trust me, I've met her. 1 stars
12/29/98 Jules You've got shite. 3 stars
12/29/98 Schizofrenic Oh My God! You got mail! You Bastard! Great comedy. Better than that Roxbury movie. 4 stars
12/27/98 The Dude A very great romatic comedy. Hanks is at his highest right now with this and" RYAN." 5 stars
12/20/98 Mr Showbiz The most satisfying collaboration yet from the super-cute superstars 4 stars
12/11/98 Kirgo Entertaining if you like this kinda crap 3 stars
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  18-Dec-1998 (PG)
  DVD: 07-Jun-2005


  26-Dec-1998 (PG)

Directed by
  Nora Ephron

Written by
  Delia Ephron
  Nora Ephron

  Tom Hanks
  Meg Ryan
  Greg Kinnear
  David Chappelle
  Parker Posey
  Michael Palin

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