Wed, Feb 06, 2008 - Page 12 News List

PPS Take Tissues to this Weepy

It's neither relevant culturally nor memorable. In short, 'PS' is not likely to win awards, yet still touches the heart

By Manohla Dargis  /  NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE , NEW YORK

LaGravenese, who last directed Swank in the sympathetic drama Freedom Writers, is in sync with his star from the get-go. He puts her in the middle of the frame and in a succession of mostly flattering outfits, and smartly surrounds her with well-ripened second bananas, notably Kathy Bates, as Holly's protective mother, and Lisa Kudrow and Gina Gershon, as her best friends. Harry Connick Jr swings in and out as a possible love interest, as does the temperature-raiser Jeffrey Dean Morgan, a television actor (Grey's Anatomy, Weeds) who bears a striking physical resemblance to Javier Bardem. Morgan's appearance in PS I Love You finishes off Butler (last seen slaughtering Persians in 300) far more effectively than does Gerry's terminal illness.

PS I Love You won't win any awards. It's preposterous in big and small matters, and there are several cringe-worthy set pieces, some involving Butler and a guitar. The film is not a beautiful object or a memorable cultural one, and yet it charms, however awkwardly. Swank's ardent sincerity and naked emotionalism dovetail nicely with LaGravenese's melodramatic excesses: Together director and star create a swell of feeling that helps blunt your reservations about being played as an easy mark even if that's exactly what you are.

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