Andy Bockelman: ‘P.S.’: Don’t take your husband
Craig — Receiving correspondence from beyond the grave may be portrayed as eerie in most movies, but in “P.S. I Love You” it is considered purely romantic.
Holly and Gerry Kennedy (Hilary Swank, Gerard Butler) are a young couple who are very much in love, even if Gerry’s laidback style often makes uptight Holly want to scream. When he suddenly passes away from a brain tumor, she is distraught with grief and becomes reclusive for weeks, unable to cope with the concept of life without her husband. On her thirtieth birthday, Holly receives a special gift that Gerry arranged before his death; a recording on which he informs her that she can expect a variety of letters within the coming months. Each letter she obtains is like having a part of him back with her, but also helps her mull their marriage and look toward the future.
This movie is a drastic change of pace for both of its stars. Swank has rarely displayed much of a girly-girl persona in her films (“Million Dollar Baby,” “Freedom Writers”) and Butler is at his best when playing the brooding hero (“The Phantom of the Opera,” “300”). In spite of this, the two work well in their roles, bringing a certain amount of drama to the story without overdoing it, particularly Butler as the Irish native who is more than aware of how charming he is. The supporting cast is well-suited for its obligations; Lisa Kudrow and Gina Gershon are fine as Holly’s supportive girlfriends, Harry Connick, Jr. is unpredictably amusing as a would-be suitor lacking in both tact and confidence, and Kathy Bates makes the most of her role as Holly’s mother Patricia, who cautions her daughter against holding onto the past for too long.
The performances are fair enough considering that the story would best be appreciated within the confines of a sorority book club. Its fatal flaw is in its indulgences; the script takes much, much too long getting where it needs to go. Virtually every major scene could be edited to some extent, and more than a few could have been cut altogether. Yes, the story is tender and life-affirming, but becomes repetitive before long and really starts to flounder with a half-hour still to go. However, maybe you have to be a member of the fairer sex to fully appreciate the film as a whole.
“P.S. I Love You” is a nice enough film, but not for everyone. Ladies, it should only be viewed during a girls’ night out. Your husband will thank you.
Now playing at the West Theater.
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