Plot: A young widow (Hilary Swank) loses that one in a million love, but her dead husband (Gerard Butler) has left numerous letters behind to help her get on with her life.
Who’s it for: Women. But this treads some tricky ground. If you’ve recently lost someone, this film isn’t really about recovering, but more about not letting go.
Expectations: Hilary Swank has proved herself as a powerful actress, but a romantic comedy … actually, I don’t know if this is just a drama or can be considered a comedy. Anyway, I had my worries.
Hilary Swank as Holly: Swank’s job isn’t so much as to pull on our heartstrings, but instead to slowly pluck them, never letting us forget she’s mourning. Holly doesn’t know what she wants out of life and it’s uncomfortable watching her try to figure it out.
Gerard Butler as Gerry: We first meet Gerry as someone who is stuck bickering with Holly, and then he’s dead. There is no chance to feel bad for Holly’s loss. Gerry knows Holly well enough to realize she needs a year’s worth of motivation to recover from his death, that alone is an uneasy feeling. Here’s hoping this won’t lead to women looking forward to their man’s death so they can finally be showered with affection.
Harry Connick Jr. as Daniel: I’m surprised to write this, but Connick Jr. is hands down the best part of this film. His dry delivery of Daniel, a bartender who says whatever is on his mind, is a refreshing addition. Even the slight twist ending is nice. It’s just too bad he disappeared for most of the second half.
Lisa Kudrow as Denise: Denise had one joke, which was to walk up to every man and ask the following: Single? Gay? Working? And then she’d attack with a kiss. Unfortunately, that’s all that worked for Kudrow.
Talking: Each person in Holly’s life yells at her to get over Gerry’s death at some point during the film, which is just one reason this feels like the longest romantic comedy of the year.
Sights and sounds: Ireland is beautiful, but it seems to be such a tangent and time waster. Plus, an extended flashback featuring karaoke didn’t offer enough laughs or tears.
It was Irish overkill. There didn’t seem to be a chronological plan with the letters, so poor Holly is just forced to sit and wait to hear from her dead husband. Not only that, Gerry’s death happens so fast we don’t really have time to mourn him, and then he’s back by either Holly’s daydreams or letters. Harry Connick Jr. was fun, but a long Ireland trip all but removed him from the film. At one point Holly says, “Why can’t I be Bette Davis?” Well, Hilary Swank has proved to be on that level winning two Oscars, but with “P.S. I Love You” she’s not even close.
Overall Grade: 5