Ken's Review: P.S. I Love You - Warning: Single Guys Stay Away
by Ken Evans
December 26, 2007
It's definitely hard to write a review for a romantic film like P.S. I Love You. It's especially tough when your wife loved it and you thought it was only ok. The other rough part is when it is getting blasted by critics everywhere who thought it was horrible, while you actually thought it was a bit enjoyable. I would consider myself much more open and receptive to the romantic film genre then most of the guys I know. I have a weak spot for the romantic comedies like Notting Hill and You've Got Mail. Even a more serious romance like The Notebook is one of my favorite films. Hopefully I can shed some light on to why P.S. I Love You can still be an enjoyable film while at the same time have some major flaws.
P.S. I Love You is about Holly Kennedy (Hilary Swank) dealing with the death of her husband Gerry Kennedy (Gerard Butler). Holly takes his death extremely hard and shuts herself off from her friends and the rest of the world. However, a short time after his funeral Holly starts to receive letters from Gerry that he had written before he died. It turns out that each letter is part of an elaborate plan that would end up taking Holly everywhere from a karaoke bar in New York City to Gerry's parent's house in Ireland. All these letters, whose purpose is to assist in helping Holly, deal with her grieving and ultimately release her so that she can get on living her life.
Hilary Swank is what I had the biggest problem with. It's not that she can't act because we know from Million Dollar Baby that she can. Even in P.S. I Love You her performance is fine. It's just that Swank is great at the intense dramas but just can't pull off the romantic, cute role like Meg Ryan or Julia Roberts. I just couldn't get past the tomboy that Swank usually plays and inherently exudes every time I look at her. Hopefully Swank will stick with the serious dramas and stay away from the cute romantic roles in the future.
Gerard Butler was great the few times we see him. It was interesting seeing him play a funny, wacky kind of guy. I wouldn't mind seeing him in romantic comedy opposite Kate Hudson eventually. Harry Connick Jr. was hilarious and extremely awkward. Although I liked his character it didn't seem to fit with the circumstances or theme of the film. Lisa Kudrow also provided some comic relief as one of Swank's girlfriends. She was funny but seems to always end up playing the same quirky character that she played in "Friends".
This film hooks you in with its famous names and unique concept. Unfortunately, it fails to deliver anything original beyond the letters that Swank's character continues to get. The film can't decide whether it's a comedy or a drama. It feels like what happened was the writers realized how sad this story really is and decided to throw in a bit of laughter to lighten the mood. This is where the film truly failed. The transitions from laughter to sadness were so abrupt that it lost all sense of reality. Just when I would start to connect with her grief, I lost it and was expected to laugh at something a character was doing. It starts off as a romance but ends up being a very sad drama with some humor thrown in. It was very confusing.
Even with the confusion I didn't walk out hating it. It truly was a sad story, and I appreciated what Butler's character was trying to do with the letters. I really enjoyed Harry Connick's character and thought he was very funny although weird. Compared to other chick-flicks this doesn't rate very high. If I hadn't been with my wife, I wouldn't have liked it as much, but seeing her laugh at the girly parts actually made me laugh and enjoy it more. So, if you're looking for a good date movie this Christmas or a movie for a ladies night out, then you can't go wrong with P.S. I Love You.