The usually reliable Tom Hanks plays Viktor Navorski, an Eastern European trapped at New York's JFK Airport until Krakozhia, his fictional homeland, ceases to be at war. It takes nine months. The movie takes years. In his sappiest film since 1989's Always, director Steven Spielberg has come down with a case of the cutes that the whole cast catches. Viktor's bad English is played for cheap laughs ("he cheats" sounds like "eat shit"). Though the film is based on a true story of an Iranian refugee living in a Paris airport, Spielberg has loosened things up to include a run-in with a hard-ass security chief (Stanley Tucci) and a fling with a hottie flight attendant (Catherine Zeta-Jones) that even Forrest Gump wouldn't be gullible enough to buy. The rest is Cast Away in an airport — great set, by the way — with various actors stepping up to play Wilson, except the volleyball wasn't stuck with dribbly dialogue. Even the best of talents misfire. Here's Exhibit A.
From The Archives Issue 329: October 30, 1980