Watched Jun 24, 2012
Having recently watched "The Shop Around the Corner," I succumbed to this remake when it was the only thing on cable one night. It's mostly harmless, but as I suspected the cleverness of the original screenplay (particularly the third act) could not be repeated. This is more about a prolonged romantic payoff than it is about confounded lovers striving to be worthy of one another and their own better selves. It did remind me that Tom Hanks really is a good actor (even better in subtle performances like this one), and he looks that much more talented alongside the merely serviceable Meg Ryan. She cries and fakes orgasms well but -- like a 90s Doris Day -- doesn't seem to have a lot going on beneath the pretty blond looks.
Nora Ephron's direction and writing is stronger here than in Sleepless in Seattle or Julie & Julia, and it's fitting that I watched and didn't hate this just days before her death (and then caught When Harry Met Sally afterward). She's a bit of the female Spielberg to my mind -- I admire her skills and enjoy a portion of each piece of work, but there's always some "meh" mixed in with the marvelous. In the end she made movies that people loved in a style that singled her out from her compatriots. That's nothing to shake a stick (or an AOL disc) at. But Ernst Lubitsch's original is the real gem.