Having achieved her greatest success writing When Harry Met Sally . . . , director-cowriter Nora Ephron tries a slightly new riff on that theme in this shamelessly romantic comedy [from a screen story by Jeff Arch]. Pic delivers ample warmth and some explosively funny moments.
Sam (Tom Hanks) is still grieving over the death of his wife (Carey Lowell, seen in flashback) when his son Jonah (Ross Malinger) phones a latenight radio call-in show saying he thinks the solution is for dad to remarry. Sam reluctantly gets on the line and ends up spilling his guts.
Among those listening is Annie (Meg Ryan), a just-engaged newspaper reporter whose husband-to-be, Walter (Bill Pullman), is sensible but not very exciting. She finds herself increasingly obsessed with ‘Sleepless in Seattle,’ Sam’s on-air handle.
For all the enjoyable flourishes, and there are many, Ephron keeps pausing to remind us that this is a movie, making it hard for anyone to really get lost in the story. And since the big question isn’t ‘if’, but ‘when’ and ‘how’, the film loses considerable momentum about two-thirds through before rallying for a heart-tugging finale.
Hanks certainly figures to increase his stock as a well-rounded actor and not just a comic, while Ryan essentially plays the same character as Sally, with pleasing if predictable results.
1993: Nominations: Best Original Screenplay, Song (‘A Wink and a Smile’)