P.S. I Love You

P.S. I Love You

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Mar 20, 2008 (Updated Mar 21, 2008)
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Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: OK

  • Bang For The Buck

Pros:Harry Connick Jr.... ..... .... not much else...

Cons:... swank miscast, unlikeable / bland characters, no real emotion and hardly any humour...

The Bottom Line: Only Harry Connick Jr.'s entertaining performance saves this from the ignomy of a 1-star rating.

P.S. I Love You is a movie that is, I presume, designed to tug on the heartstrings and have elements of romantic comedy… it’s fair to say that it fails almost completely in either respect. It has to be admitted that I didn’t like the look of this film right from the start and hadn’t wanted to see it, but I gave in to my other half who wanted to watch it. For the record, she was extremely unimpressed with it as well.

This is the story of Holly Kennedy (Hilary Swank) and Gerry Kennedy (Gerard Butler). It’s not giving too much away to say that Gerry dies early in the film and the rest of it is about Holly trying to adjust to he new life, guided by letters that Gerry in his dying days had arranged to have delivered to her over the months following his death. Each of these letters ends with the words, “P.S. I Love You”. We are introduced to the couple during an argument which makes both of them seem about as appealing and mature as a couple of squabbling lemurs. This is my first big problem with the film - Holly’s character is shown to be self-obsessed, lacking any kind of initiative, whiny and frankly rather stupid. Er… why exactly am I supposed to care about her again? I’ve really liked Hilary Swank in the films I’ve seen her in so far (admittedly not many) and think that she’s a very talented actress, but she doesn’t manage to inject more than a shred of likeability into her character in the whole film. Gerry, even when he’s dead, also seems rather self-obsessed and a bit of a control freak. Butler’s acting was ok (yes he does get to act, even though he’s dead, but he’s not a ghost - rather a memory), but I wasn’t convinced by his Irish accent at times. Still, it wasn’t as inconsistent as Johnny Depp’s accent in Chocolat - anyone else notice that??!

Anyway, back to this film. Quite often the case with movies like this is that you end up liking the subsidiary characters more. Only one character was particularly interesting enough for you to really care about though - Daniel Connelly (Harry Connick Jr), who has an illness - an inability to pick up on social cues - which he is aware of but has no control over. A bit of loner through circumstance more than choice, his character is frequently amusing (because he comes out with all the sort of things that we all think but wouldn’t actually say), and because his emotional responses are so open and honest, his desires and inner battles are worn on his sleeve - and face. The crooner puts in a very believable performance here, and is probably the only reason why this may be worthwhile. Of the other main subsidiary characters, Sharon McCarthy (Gina Gershon) adds little to the proceedings Denise Hennessey (Lisa Kudrow), despite being played by an actress I’ve always liked, is much too cynically calculating in her attempts to snare a man for her to be likeable. She’s not exactly a gold-digger, but not much better - her method is to ask a man if they are single, straight and working - then if the answer to all of these is yes, she kisses them. If the kiss is acceptable then she will happily marry them within a few months, it seems. This is supposed to be funny (I assume), but the fact that she does this immediately after a ceremony in honour of Gerry’s death seems just too much to take. Patricia Rowley (Kathy Bates), Holly’s mother, is a fairly decent character and played by a great actress… but it’s not enough to save the film. Jeffery Dean Morgan’s character seems almost to be there for the sake of it. Oh, and you thought Three Men on a Boat showcased stupidity? Try Three Women on a Boat as shown in a scene in P.S. I Love You - they make J, George and Harris look like Einsteins!

Er… and we’re supposed to feel sympathy for these three idiots? Laugh at them? Hope they’ll drown and the film will end? Who knows?!?! (Who cares?!?)

A couple of things do attempt to make this worthwhile. It was refreshing that neither of the main characters were beautiful young things as in so many Hollywood movies - until they started acting like toddlers having a tantrum, this would have added believability to the setting. An unlikely romance between two of the characters doesn’t have the outcome you might expect and was (I’ll grudgingly admit) quite well handled. Holly’s character though doesn’t really seemed to have gained any noticeable measure of maturity by the end of the film, albeit she thankfully isn’t whining all the time by then. A new career magically beckons, with the film noticeably side-stepping the awkward fact that it would appear she had nothing to live on while she was learning her new trade. Oh well…

With more likeable characters, a female lead who doesn’t feel completely miscast, and a storyline that didn’t continue to wallow in sentimentality (when it was supposed to be a movie about moving on with your life) and shamelessly manipulative, this could have been a touching portrayal of someone’s attempt to get over the death of a loved one. As it is P.S. I Love You is simply a mess - hardly any real emotional, very little humour (and that all provided by a single character), an unappealing lead character, bland or dislikeable supporting characters, and a feeling that you could have spent those 2 hours 6 minutes doing something that was actually enjoyable instead.

(For those who don’t appreciate the subtle clues in my review above - I really didn’t like this at all!!!)

Related Links

Hilary Swank put in a superb performance in Million Dollar Baby- which I wasn’t expecting to enjoy, but I thought was fantastic.

Gerard Butler was in another film that I personally disliked - The Phantom of the Opera

Lisa Kudrow seems to have only been in one film that I’ve actually reviewed… and I didn’t like that either!! Hanging Up

Harry Connick Jr. wasn't in, but provided some of the songs for (I think I liked his acting here better than I usually like his singing!) for When Harry Met Sally, one of the finest romantic comedies ever made.

Recommend this product? No

Movie Mood: Die-hard Fans Only
Viewing Method: Other
Film Completeness: Looked complete to me.
Worst Part of this Film: Everything

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