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.