You've Got Mail: New York Valentine
Sisters Nora and Della Ephron's screenplay updates Ernst Lubitsch's much more endearing 1940 movie, The Shop Around the Corner for the e-mail generation. Originally the tale of two coworkers, who detested one another on the job but loved each other as pen-pals, the Ephrons' version tells the story of small children's bookstore owner Kathleen Kelley (Meg Ryan) and book superstore mogul Joe Fox (Tom Hanks).
The two meet in AOL's over-30 chatroom -- she's Shopgirl and he's NY152. Although both are in relationships, he with a wittily aggressive book editor (Parker Posey) and she with a New York Observer columnist (Greg Kinnear), they become increasing obsessed with their AOL friendship.
When they first meet face to face in her store, there's an attraction, but neither follows up. When they meet again, Kathleen realizes that Joe owns the chain bookstore seeking to put her out of business, but they don't know that they are also e-mail buddies.
Eventually both leave their relationships and devote more time to their budding e-mail romance. The road to love twists and turns, but it's not giving anything away to say that all ends well. We knew that before we sat down in the theater.
Not believable for a second -- AOL never connects that quickly, and you're more likely to end up e-mailing a prison inmate than anyone as wholesome or cute as Ryan and Hanks -- the movie is saved by the chemistry of its two leads. Ryan personifies the word "adorable," and any scene where she wears pajamas, sneezes, and is clever all at once is bound to be a winner. And is it possible to dislike Hanks? He's endearing every second, convincingly portraying the mogul with a heart of gold,
The supporting cast excels. Posey, queen of the independent movies, shines as Joe's girlfriend. Dabney Coleman, as Joe's much married father, has some terrific scenes. And Jean Stapleton, as Kathleen's coworker and friend, is fun to watch. Kinnear also does a great job in playing the self-absorbed columnist. And has there ever been a more adorable golden retriever?
You've Got Mail sends one gigantic valentine to New York City and the Upper West Side. And what it has done for AOL, one can only imagine.
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