Few acquainted with the work of Nora Ephron and Ernst Lubitsch would expect her remake of his The Shop Around the Corner (1940) to be anything but inferior to one of the most delicate, poignant romantic comedies ever made. But in updating to the e-mail era the still potentially fertile story of anonymous pen pals who never knowingly meet but whose letters grow intimate in inverse proportion to their professional animosity, Ephron has produced a travesty, opting for every manipulative trick available. First, from her earlier Sleepless in Seattle, she reunites Ryan, sickeningly ditzy but earnest from her first appearance as the chintzy indie kids' bookseller, and Hanks, flabby and implausibly flexible as the superstore tycoon who threatens to put her out of business but finally does the right thing. Second, there's the ludicrously twee brownstone Manhattan setting. Third, the clumsily loaded characterisation not only treats almost every other figure as dispensable, but doesn't even bother to make Meg and Tom properly sympathetic.