New On DVD: 'P.S. I Love You'
Category: P.S. I Love You Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: May 9, 2008 | Publication: nbc5.com Chicago | Author: Tim Lammers
'P.S. I Love You' (PG-13): There's no sense in trying to challenge "Million Dollar Baby" Oscar winner Hilary Swank about getting into the comedy ring: Not only does the acclaimed serious actress boast some new moves in a mostly comedic role, she's a complete knockout as a romantic lead in "P.S. I Love You."
Swank plays Holly Kennedy, a person driven by planning ahead, even though she can't find a job that can satisfy her work passion in the present. On the flip side is her husband, Gerry ("300" star Gerard Butler), who lives life on the fly until his untimely death.
Suddenly, Holly, who was always looking ahead to the future, is stifled by the memories of Gerry in the past: that is, at least until her 30th birthday, when a cake shows up with a tape recording by her late love.
It seems as though Gerry knew how to plan ahead after all, and informs Holly that she'll be receiving letters in the coming weeks and months that will help her move on with her life through a series of adventures -- letters that are each signed, "P.S. I Love You."
While Gerry's death is the event at the heart of "P.S. I Love You," his loss isn't as much of a downer as you'd expect. In fact, the film is much more of a comedy than it is a drama, mainly driven by flashbacks of the couple when Gerry was alive and the people still around Holly in the present -- including her best friends (Lisa Kudrow and Gina Gershon) and an awkward bartender (Harry Connick Jr.) who works for Holly's mother (Kathy Bates).
Butler -- who gave a ferocious edge to Leonidas in "300" -- is also given a chance to shine as a comedy actor in "P.S. I Love You." Bringing the sense of emotional vulnerability to the table that he displayed with memorable performance as the title character in the movie version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera," Butler also puts his inherent charm and charisma on full display.
Also without a hitch he shows an impeccable sense of his comic timing as his character nears death, which is included on the DVD in the deleted scenes. Even though the scene would have drug down the film, it's still worth checking out in the bonus features.
Director Richard LaGravenese masterfully maintains the tricky balancing act between the comedy and drama throughout the film, never letting the comedy of the situation outweigh the gravity of Gerry's loss. And thanks to some wonderfully subtle acting by Swank and Butler, LaGravenese also creates a mystical feeling when he projects the spirit of Gerry to be a physical presence around Holly. It inspires the same kind of romantic emotion so wonderfully portrayed in the Patrick Swayze-Demi Moore romantic drama "Ghost."
Another character in the film is the breathtakingly beautiful countryside of Ireland, a destination Gerry requests that Holly visit in one of his letters. It adds a tremendous amount of depth to the film, not just as a pretty setting, but as the home to grounded, humble Gerry, a native of the country.
DVD Features: A conversation with "P.S. I Love You" book author Cecilia Ahern, deleted scenes, James Blunt's "Same Mistake" music video, "The Name of the Game Is Snaps" instructional video and more. (Warner Home Video)