A romance with lots of tears and a good amount of comedy

Category: P.S. I Love You Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: December 21, 2007 | Publication: Miamiherald.com | Author: Betsy Pickle
Publication/Article Link:http://www.miamiherald.com/776/story/353208.html

Those who object to being force-fed copious amounts of cheesy romance and Irish charm should steer clear of "P.S. I Love You."

If it's not clear from the title, "P.S. I Love You" is all about love -- being in love, losing a love, being haunted and guided by love. Cynics need not apply.

This is a romance with plenty of tears and a good amount of comedy. It stars Hilary Swank as Holly Kennedy, a discontented New Yorker who lives in a five-floor walkup with Irish-born husband Gerry (Gerard Butler).

Holly doesn't know what she wants from life. She can't keep a job. She doesn't think she's ready for a baby. She thinks she and Gerry should buy an apartment, but they can't afford it.

Meanwhile, she's married to one of the best-looking men on the planet, with an Irish accent to boot. Gerry is crazy about Holly ("crazy" perhaps being the operative word) and will do anything for her. He's happy with her and their life.

Every now and then Holly is reminded of this, and she becomes a likable person. Then Gerry dies of a brain tumor, and she's alone. The wake is lovely, and Holly holds up well until she goes home to the empty apartment.

Except that it's not empty to Holly. Gerry is there with her, talking to her, playing his guitar, holding her. She wallows in her imaginary idyll and very real squalor until her mom, Patricia (Kathy Bates), and friends Denise (Lisa Kudrow), Sharon (Gina Gershon) and John (James Marsters) come to celebrate her 30th birthday.

The party becomes surreal when a cake is delivered - sent by Gerry, along with a letter. He promises more letters, and he delivers. His goal is to keep Holly from mourning and moping, and as time passes, Gerry's plan succeeds.

Directed by Richard LaGravenese from a screenplay he and Steven Rogers adapted from a novel by Cecilia Ahern, "P.S. I Love You" is overloaded with blarney and beautiful men. As if Gerry weren't enough, Holly also gets a chance with an infatuated barman, Daniel (Harry Connick Jr.), and another Irish stud, William (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). And people thought "Enchanted" was the biggest fairy tale of the season.

Kudrow has some of the film's funniest bits of business as a single woman on the prowl, while Bates provides the most realistic character. Butler is almost too adorable, while Connick and Morgan are not to be sneezed at.

The fly in the ointment is Swank, who has the double onus of lacking a palpable warmth on-screen and being given a character who seems like a shrew. A much-delayed backstory lets Holly off the hook a bit, but she goes through most of the film seeming like an ungrateful wench.

There are other holes in the film's fabric, but they aren't fatal. With a different lead, this could have been a chick-flick classic. As it is, "P.S. I Love You" is at least a contact high for fans of Butler, Connick and Morgan.

Rated PG-13 for sexual references and brief nudity.

3.5 stars (out of five)