Kate and Leopold

Director:James Mangold
Writers:James Mangold and Steven Rogers
Miramax Films; PG-13; 114 minutes
Cast:Meg Ryan, Hugh Jackman, Liev Schrieber

The preternaturally perky Meg Ryan assumes her default romantic-comedy mode in fish-out-of-water flick Kate and Leopold. She's Kate, a driven ad exec in modern Manhattan. Leopold (Hugh Jackman), also known as the Duke of Albany, comes to her via a tear in time's fabric that links the 1876 Brooklyn Bridge to the current one. Yes, the romance in Kate and Leopold infuses the city as well its title characters.

Breeziness befits the romantic-comedy genre, and the movie does well to ignore all questions of plausibility and focus on the work at hand: making jokes about an extremely polite heartthrob confused not by Manhattan's urban chaos and a hundred years of technology, but rather by contemporary etiquette. Prim and gentlemanly Jackman fits the role snugly. He brings a warmth to the movie that Meg Ryan's squeakiness alone could not convey. Kate and Leopold provides blithe sweetheart fun.