The Love Letter

Bomb Rating: 

It all becomes crystal-clear before the first credit even creeps onto the screen: That big Dreamworks intro plays, and suddenly the question of how Kate Capshaw managed to appear in another movie, much less produce it, becomes insultingly clear: Making a moronic little movie with virtually no story arc is cake when you're married to one of the most powerful men in Hollywood.

This is supposedly the darling tale of a letter that causes everybody around it to behave amorously, but take a closer look, and this film begins to seem truly insidious. First, its very existence hinges on the whole nepotism factor. Second, this is yet another movie about a bookstore owner. That's fine, if a tad repetitive, but Kate's little bookstore also proves to be a perfect metaphor for business in Hollywood.

Helen (Capshaw) owns her shop in the sleepy, painfully picturesque New England town of Loblolly By The Sea, located in the kind of universe where Ebola and crack whores simply don't exist. The store has three employees: Janet (Ellen DeGeneres), Jennifer (Julianne Nicholson) and Johnny (Tom Everett Scott). They work every day, except we never see anybody actually buy a book. Typical Hollywood business management: Let's dump a whole bunch of money into something, and pray to God that somebody shows up.

In the real world, Helen would be scraping fungus off garbage cans for sustenance, because she'd be out of business quicker than you could say "" Okay, so George (Tom Selleck) comes in the store now and then, but that's mainly to be quaintly eccentric, talk about beehives, and lurk in the back stacks while quietly masturbating into page 69 of every last book in Oprah's Book Club. (Ok, I made the stuff about the beehives up.) And what's with reading some stupid letter and then hopping into the sack with your employee? That may be romantic by Hollywood standards, but it's called "sexual harassment suit" in the real world.

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