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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

THE TERMINAL (2004)

It’s a testament to Steven Speilberg & Tom Hanks that this tone-deaf bit of whimsy plays as well as it does. It’s a tricked up welcome-to-America saga about a man-without-a-country, stuck in international airport purgatory, set in the post-9/11 world. Let the mayhem & mirth begin. Only serenely isolated Hollywood titans could have got this made. Hanks flirts dangerously w/ sainthood in Chaplinesque mode (or is he E.T.?) while Speilberg shows Capraesque expertise in audience control and "Pop"/populist demagoguery. As the frustrated authority figure, Stanley Tucci plays at being Walter Matthau just as Hanks did in the infinitely preferable previous Speilberg pic, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN. No doubt, much of the narrative goop comes courtesy of scripter Andrew (TRUMAN SHOW) Niccol, still sampling tv’s THE PRISONER for themes and largely missing the point. But keep your eye on Diego Luna, a ringer for Freddie Prinze, and a charmer to watch.

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