The first picture to truly disappoint me this year is P.S. I Love You. I was so ready to champion this film as the romantic comedy of the year. It had a wonderful trailer, a terrific idea and what appeared to be the unlikely cast to pull it all off. Unfortunately it is such a discombobulated mess that it never allows you to get fully comfortable with the story or even a chance to like the characters. Instead, each scene climbs a mountain top of emotions, only to throw you over the edge and force you to start climbing all over again the very next second. You are ultimately left to wonder why you are even climbing that mountain at all.
The film begins with a long, drawn out episode between married couple Holly and Gerry Kennedy (Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler). It’s a typical argument any couple may have and it is an attempt to give you a candid look at their life and how much they love each other despite the other’s flaws and insecurities. The scene works, but it is all you are getting. Seconds after the scene ends we learn Gerry has died due to a prolonged illness. Holly is, of course, wrecked and she goes into seclusion mode and it takes a mysterious present on her 30th birthday to get her out of the house.
Gerry has left Holly a series of letters and guides, instructing her to find herself and celebrate life. They take her from karaoke bars all the way to Gerry’s native Ireland. Throughout the process we get glimpses into Holly’s life with Gerry, including how they met, and each and every time Gerry is presented as the same chuckling goofball he always was. What I am saying here is that we are never really given an opportunity to learn why exactly Holly loved Gerry so much.
To make matters worse you have Harry Connick Jr. in the most ill-placed role of 2007 as he plays a bartender that may or may not be mildly retarded. He has an obvious infatuation with Holly and she selfishly uses his infatuation to help make her feel better all the while leading him to believe there may be a future there. None of it works and Connick’s character fits into the film like a square peg into a round hole.
The problems with P.S. I Love You are too many to list, but I have to point out a couple. Such as how Hilary Swank was absolutely the wrong person to play the role of the downtrodden widow. As good an actress as Swank is, she has played far too many strong female roles for us to buy into her grief. To top it off, her grief just simply isn’t believable, but that has to do with the script and the hollow character that was written for Gerard Butler. The character of Gerry is just a yuck-yuck goofball that never really offers much more than conversation and no real insight into who he really is and why he and Holly are the supposed soul mates.
Finally, as I said in the opening paragraph, the pacing is a mess. It is a rollercoaster of ups and downs as each scene builds to an emotional climax only to stop and start over again in an instant. You feel like you are being dragged around a floor and occasionally getting slammed into a wall… not a good feeling. I am unsure if this film is going to be a hit with the emotional movie-going women or if they too will see its flaws. I have a feeling women will fall for all the emotional heartbreak the film offers as well as the short scenes of female camaraderie. I am not saying the film didn’t have its moments, I am saying as a package it is a mess.