'P. S. I Love You:' Skip this sappy flick

Thursday, December 27, 2007

My husband and I thought "P.S. I Love You" would make a good date movie; however, he fell asleep after the opening credits, and for the next two hours I struggled with why Hilary Swank would have chosen to act in this movie.

This misguided chick flick jumps through too many hoops just to state the obvious: "Life goes on, and enjoy the time you have."

This is a movie that will leave you stupefied from beginning to end.

The only good things in it are the Irish scenery and the flashbacks of Holly and Gerry's first kiss.

The actors are not really awful; it's just that the script is so incompetent that even Dame Judi Dench could not make the dialogue believable. The direction is flabby and uninspired, the casting is wrong and the performances run the gamut from uninteresting to insufferable.

Based on a novel by Cecelia Ahern, the film is about real estate broker Holly Kennedy (Hillary Swank) who buys designer clothes on eBay and is married to Gerry, a lusty Irish guy (Gerard Butler). Gerry soon dies of brain cancer.

As a widow, Holly has the unwavering support of her mother, barkeep Patricia (Kathy Bates), wacky sister Ciara (Nellie McKay) and sassy best girlfriends, husband-hunting Denise (Lisa Kudrow) and sensible Sharon (Gina Gershon), who's married to Gerry's best friend (James Marsters).

Then comes a real surprise: The mysterious arrival of a cake and a tape-recorded message from Gerry.

Despite his advancing illness, Gerry wrote Holly a series of letters and arranged for their posthumous delivery over the course of the next year, each missive directing her to do something that will restore her joie de vivre, telling her to belt out songs at a karaoke bar, take up fishing or go dancing in a gay bar.

The film can't seem to decide whether it wants to be a serious exploration of mourning or a fluffy love story. It tries to be both and doesn't do either well. "P.S. I Love You" is manipulative, too long and loaded with the bizarre stereotypes of so-called women's movies, from the sassy, "loose" best friend (Kudrow) to the obligation of the heroine to be physically clumsy.

This has not been a good year for Hilary Swank. After "The Reaping" and "Freedom Writers," she's made another blunder by taking the main part in "P.S. I Love You." Some actors are better suited to straight-ahead dramas. Swank appears to be one of them.

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