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The Terminal

Too much of a good thing

On its own, a Steven Spielberg-directed film can be depended on to provide worthwhile entertainment. The same is true for any film in which Tom Hanks stars. However, combining the two creates the serious danger of a chemical reaction that will cause vomiting due to excess sentimentality. And this is before the film's storyline is even considered.

Hanks plays Viktor Navorski, a traveler from a fictional country in Eastern Europe called Krakozhia. Upon arriving in New York, his documents are revoked by customs because rebels in his home country have staged a coup. Without his passport, he is stranded in the international terminal of JFK, where he builds a new life among the security guards, janitors, food service workers and one dazzling stewardess named Amelia, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones.

The Terminal isn't a movie to take seriously. Instead, it should be measured on how much cheer it brings you. Its goal is to mystify you with one man's ability to brighten the lives of those around him, without the aid of money, or the ability to speak the language proficiently. Facts like Navorski's English, which seems nearly perfect at times but then plummets to the level of an infant child, are of secondary importance.

In short, don't let the implausibility of certain events affect your perception of the journey as a whole. More often than not, Navorski's unyielding optimism and selflessness charms us. However, to no one's surprise, things are sometimes pushed too far, and we find ourselves nearly asphyxiating on the sugar being poured down our throat.

Stars: 3 out of 5

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