November 26, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST

After hearing Steven Spielberg wax poetic on a making-of doc that his airport terminal is a metaphor for America, you’re likely to be disappointed by the actual movie. Yes, The Terminal‘s pedigree is first-class, but this tale of an Eastern European stranded at JFK airport never quite takes off. Tom Hanks clearly has fun returning to physical comedy and trotting out another accent after his turn in The Ladykillers, but the sultry Catherine Zeta-Jones is miscast as an unlucky-in-love flight attendant. The supporting players, while charming (especially Kumar Pallana as an Indian janitor), just don’t have enough to do. Spielberg may claim in another doc, ”Waiting can be exciting. Waiting can be entertaining,” but it sure isn’t in this case.

EXTRAS There’s no commentary, but the special features, particularly one that details the construction of the huge set and the CD of the sound-track, soar. The stars’ obvious enthusiasm for the project supports composer John Williams’ notion that they thought they were making ”an Ellis Island poem.” Well, points for aiming high, anyway.

type
Movie
Genre
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
128 minutes
director
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