Message in a Bottle

Based on the best-selling weepie by Nicholas Sparks, Message in a Bottle is a hazard to all those allergic to ponderous chick flicks. Kevin Costner stars as the romantically sullen Garret Blake, a boat builder in North Carolina who writes love notes, shoves them in a bottle and sends them out to sea, where his dead wife will maybe get the message that he's lost without her. "You are my true north," he writes. The lovely Robin Wright Penn plays divorced mother Theresa Osborne, a researcher at the Chicago Tribune, She finds a message, gets it published and sets out to locate Garret in the name of all women who want to be true north to the right guy. It's love with tragic complications, and director Luis Mandoki drags the torture out for two-plus hours. As Garret's cranky dad, Paul Newman, 74, offers the only sly comic relief from the spray of schmaltz. Otherwise, take this Bottle and sink it.

From The Archives Issue 242: June 30, 1977