Romantic comedies have been around for what feels like centuries, and they are usually just going to be okay or they are going to be in the category of worst movie you have ever seen. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, however, have been in a number of movies together, and they are always great. “Joe vs. the Volcano“, “Sleepless in Seattle“, and “You’ve Got Mail” have a level ridiculousness, but it’s always done really well, and the chemistry is usually spot on for these two. “You’ve Got Mail” was based off of an old Jimmy Stewart film called “The Shop Around the Corner“, both of which I have seen, and they are both great, I just prefer the one with Tom and Meg.
Meg Ryan’s character Kathleen Kelly, lets call her ShopGirl (her screenname) has a boyfriend, and has been flirting with a man named NY52 (Tom Hanks), AKA Joe Fox on AOL e-mail. The man also has a girlfriend. These people are scum that deserve each other. They met on an online chat room, and ever since have been talking, but they don’t know each others real names.
In their lives away from the internet, Joe is a businessman in charge of making other successful businesses a reality. Kathleen owns a homey and personable bookshop that she inherited from her mother called “The Shop Around the Corner”. Well Joe plans to make a book superstore, that will ultimately take Kathleen’s store out of business. This brings their characters together, and obviously they hate each other, which makes the comedy that much more sweet. When he learns that she is his mystery girl, he begins to feel things for her, and tries to get her to fall for him, the man that is her natural-born enemy.
It’s not really hard to guess at what happens next. Like I said, it’s a romantic comedy, so after they get to the point, its just a matter of comedic elements, mixed in with some serious/romantic bits when need be. It’s really all about the road, the road to get to the predictable ending. What really makes it special is the on-screen chemistry that Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan have continually had throughout the years. Meg Ryan hasn’t even been in the movies since 2009, it would be nice for another film with these two, because they have always been able to carry a romantic comedy to different heights.
Okay, lets talk about believability here. They live in the same town, what’s the chances of that, and what in the world are the chances that they would have never asked each others names? It’s common courtesy, and just ends up being creepy without that common courtesy. Heck Meg could be talking to an hairy old man who is out to kill her in the next week. That’s simply the real world explanation, the movie makes it’s own interpretation…and it’s not bad for what it is. It’s fun. Also look for the glory days of dial-up internet, and try not to think of this entire film from start to finish as a big AOL advertisement.
In the end, there really isn’t a whole lot more that I can say about this film. The entire movie is carried completely by chemistry and comedy, most of which is light awkward humor. So what CAN you say about it? Well it may not be realistic, it may be corny, but it’s supposed to be. It is just a feel-good film. It wasn’t ever trying to win awards, it was focusing instead on being lighthearted, funny, and entertaining. Which it does, in it’s own way, even more so back in 1998. It still maintains a good amount of its humor, and I was never bored watching it, and I’ve watched it a lot.
I’m sure that this film is at least a little bit of the reason of why we have so many relationships that started out online, as well as online dating sites. Tom and Meg really made the act of talking online, and falling in love over the internet a possibility, and an easy possibility at that. For how unbelievable it is, it did get that part right. It is easier online than in person, and we have since had an outburst of online dating sites. I’m not saying this film is the reason, I’m just saying it may have played a part.
“You’ve Got Mail” is an oldie, but a goody. Check it out before signing off!
[SIDENOTE: Dave Chappelle is playing Joe’s best friend? That’s hilarious. Other sidenote, this film really reminded me of “Sleepless in Seattle“, both Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan’s character were dating other people while talking to each other in a romantic fashion in that film, but this film and that film were both based off of different older films, but it’s hard not to notice the similarities