(Originally published in Rocky Mountain Bullhorn)
A Steven Spielberg film about an alien trapped in America who desperately wants to return home? No, it’s not E.T., but rather The Terminal, an uneven blend of comedy, romance, and corniness about an Eastern European immigrant (Tom Hanks’ Viktor Navorski) confined to an airport when his fictional native country of Krakozia undergoes a coup and his traveling papers are rendered null and void. Spielberg tries his hand at Jacques Tati drollness (Viktor constructing a bed from rows of airport seats) and star-crossed love (Viktor’s relationship with Catherine Zeta-Jones’ stewardess) while also providing a villain in Stanley Tucci’s Homeland Security bigwig. The film’s story, however, is too episodic, and its tone too uneven and chaotic, to ever elicit more than a slight smile. Viktor’s imaginary nationality excludes any telling commentary on American immigration policies, but it’s Hanks’ overdone slapstick antics and awful accent that ultimately keep this featherweight farce from taking flight.