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Overall Rating

Awesome: 17.95%
Worth A Look: 15.38%
Pretty Bad: 21.79%
Total Crap: 16.67%

6 reviews, 42 user ratings

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Message in a Bottle
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by Chris Parry

"If this was a Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movie people would lap it up."
4 stars

Being sent to preview this movie was like being sent on a seek and destroy mission. In no way did I expect to be able to sheath the bowie knife and actually enjoy the film. But, shock of shocks, that's just what happened.

Okay, so every man and his dog has crapped all over this flick, and I can see why. It's nigh three hours of Kevin Costner doing the strong silent type and falling in love with Mrs Penn. What's not to hate?

Well, Costner's nautical obsession, the obsession that almost screwed his career with Waterworld, has finally found it's place. This movie is nothing if it's not 'magic hour' intensive. Every second shot is a sunset or a sunrise, every third shot is a sprawling aqua-vista.

In between lies two sensational performances (Wright-Penn and Newman) and one mediocre, but acceptable one (Costner). In Hollywood today, that's a pretty good ratio.

So the gig is this. Costner's wife dies and he cleanses his guilty conscience by throwing messages in bottles into the ocean. Reporter Wright-Penn finds one and takes it into the newspaper she works for, where the heartfelt words become a big mystery. Who is the man? What's his story?

When she sets out to find him, she falls for him, he's got issues, she's got issues, he inevitably finds out she's a reporter and loses it, blah, blah, blah.

Sounds pretty awful? Well there ain't a lot going on. Sometimes their emotional baggage is so tiresome that you want to clunk their heads together like Moe.

But the performances win through. Robin Wright-Penn, and I'll say it right here, bold statement time, Robin Wright-Penn will win an Oscar within three years. She was the best part of Hurly Burly, she was great back in The Princess Bride, in She's So Lovely she was range-city in a cruddy flick, and here she is the quintessential "every woman". She's five years off where Meg Ryan is right now. She will be A-List for many years to come.

Paul Newman as the expected "crusty old dad" character, is pretty damn good too. He manages to get the best lines and he knows how to deliver them. Newman offers just enough comedy to take attention away from the fact that his character is formula to the core.

And Costner, well Costner warrants a sledging in just about every movie he's been in, but sometimes folks forget the reason he got big in the first place. The guy CAN be good. He rarely is, but he CAN be. In Message In A Bottle, his character is soft spoken and shy as all get-out, and that really is the best character for him to play. It suits him, and frankly I can't see that anyone else would have improved on him in this role.

Considering I had targets primed for obliteration and negative comments ready for action, I can't decry this film in any way other than its length (which is 20 mins too long) and its cheesy ending. The ending is a real forced "cry now" and comes across as a bit cheap, but judging by the tears flowing in my screening it strikes a chord with some. It could have been much worse. Much much worse.

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originally posted: 02/27/99 01:37:58
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User Comments

10/28/09 the dork knight decent job by Newman but nothing you haven't seen before 3 stars
3/08/08 Pamela White very romantic 4 stars
10/04/07 precilla it was so amazing when i read the novel it consist of love 5 stars
7/08/06 Kyle Oh, so very boring. 2 stars
5/27/06 Sheena book is not given justice with this movie. read it rather than watch it. 2 stars
5/27/06 Carol Baker a nice little love story but too cheesy for me. 3 stars
11/24/05 me I loved the movie, pretty sad but really good 5 stars
10/03/04 shane fabuloso 5 stars
8/13/04 lisa weindorf I loved the love 4 stars
5/16/04 John really quite charming 4 stars
2/18/04 Rhonda Fields I LOVED it, could done w/o all the cursing. My favorite all time movie!! 5 stars
8/22/03 Sherlynn Cheung It was an excellent film!! 5 stars
6/27/03 Bliss 1. Nothing like the book. 2. Costner too old for the part. 3. As if... 3 stars
3/27/03 Pam be Dextrous C'mon Jack. How can a total crap movie have a saving grace? Whole cast wasted. 1 stars
3/24/03 Jack Sommersby Dullsville. Newman is film's saving grace. 1 stars
1/11/03 Desperado All the way up to the ending I was thinking great movie. Then piss-poor ending made it suck 2 stars
6/22/02 steve donaghy i love this movie every time i see it the tears start steaming down my face. 5 stars
3/17/02 FlaFan Sweet yet heartbreaking movie, with a great Costner performance. 5 stars
11/29/01 The $1.98 Pyramid C'mon! Catherine's been dead for two years! Snap out of it! 3 stars
7/04/01 TLsmooth Newman must be going crazy to take part in this week old shit of a film. 2 stars
8/03/00 Piz warm but tedious at times, Newman is killer, Great Soundtrack! 3 stars
7/13/00 Terrie Smith Tedious to say the least; Paul Newman walks away with the film.ay with 3 stars
3/12/00 "Persnickety "Jenn the ending was nothing short of pure crap, easy way out, other then that could've ben great 3 stars
2/25/00 fire-n-ice good movie to see with your man. but the ending was too sad!!!! 4 stars
2/06/00 Kyle Broflovski Oh, boo-hoo-hoo, people. Particularly lameass entry in the romantic-lead-gets-offed field. 2 stars
9/22/99 Ritt Suzanne I have always wanted to start a sailing-course; but this film has really got me started. I 4 stars
9/14/99 missy i thought it could have been a better end 3 stars
8/25/99 terence smith average film; paul newman still shines at 73 3 stars
4/13/99 Go Swans All I can say is lucky I didn't see this too late at night. The worst film this year. 1 stars
4/08/99 Big Jimmy They should combine the plot of this movie with that of RAVENOUS and see what happens 2 stars
4/05/99 Cool Thing The ending and Costner ruined a decent romance. 2 stars
3/25/99 Michael Prince True Romance and then some 5 stars
3/15/99 David Smith The movie for the most part was a good one, however the end of the movie took it all away!! 1 stars
3/04/99 Mr Showbiz Do yourself a favour and spend 2 hrs looking at scrimshaw, instead of this flick. 1 stars
3/03/99 Jerry-93 Best Love Story since *Last House on the Left*!!! 2 stars
2/27/99 Jennifer Bennett This movie was very slow, the only good thing was Paul Newman> 2 stars
2/24/99 denise ugh. Loved Paul Newman, but it was boring and the ending was really, really, really awful 1 stars
2/19/99 The Graduate Pretty straightforward, but your girlfriend will love it. 3 stars
1/25/99 Dark Horizons It's definitely a good example of a love story. Costner was actually good. 4 stars
1/24/99 Kirgo1 Excruciating! 1 stars
1/14/99 Wendy Gilbaugh I laughed out loud when I saw Costner as the mysterious message writer. Give me a break! 2 stars
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  12-Feb-1999 (PG-13)


  01-Apr-1999 (PG)

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