Herald rating: * * *
PS: I Love You is an old fashioned sentimental Hollywood romantic comedy. It's like a good trashy summer beach book, decent enough to engage until the end, but as cheesy as it is charming.
This sweet little film will make you laugh and cry, but once it's over you'll feel a bit of a fool. Unashamedly a chick flick, PS: I Love You is based on the novel by Irish author Cecelia Ahern. Director Richard LaGravenese has shifted the story from Ireland to the United States, making the lead Holly Kennedy, played by Hilary Swank, American, but retains husband Gerry (Gerard Butler) as Irish.
Holly deals with the death of her husband of 10 years by holing up in her apartment watching old movies, ignoring her friends Denise (Kudrow) and Sharon (Gershon), her mother Patricia (Kathy Bates) and her sister Rose (Nellie McKay).
On her 30th birthday, she receives a posthumous package that contains a recorded message from her dead husband, telling her to get out and celebrate her birthday. This is the first of 10 letters Gerry prepared for Holly to help her get on with her life and find herself.
Her family and friends worry that these letters are keeping Holly tied to the past, which is conveniently played out for us in flashbacks, but the letters are the only thing keeping Holly going.
Swank doesn't sit comfortably as a romantic comedy lead. She's got the ability to make you weep in the more heart-wrenching moments but the comedy doesn't come so easily. Harry Connick Jr's shy, socially inadequate bartender is just plain odd and unnecessary. Overall, PS I Love You is filled with sentimentality and nostalgia that will either have you reaching for tissues as you experience Holly's emotional journey, or wishing you'd read it at the beach.
Cast: Hilary Swank, Gerard Butler, Lisa Kudrow, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Gina Gershon
Director: Richard LaGravenese
Running Time: 126 mins
Rating: M (sexual references)
Screening: SkyCity, Hoyts and Berkeley
Verdict: As cheesy as its title sounds.