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WARNER

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Richard LaGravenese
Cast:
Hilary Swank, Gerard Butler, Lisa Kudrow, Gina Gershon, James Marsters, Kathy Bates, Harry Connick Jr.
Writing Credits:
Richard LaGravenese, Steven Rogers, Cecelia Ahern (novel)

Tagline:
Sometimes there's only one thing left to say.

Synopsis:
Buy a new outfit. Be a disco diva. Learn to fish. Take a chance. Travel. Laugh. Love. Sometimes all you need to start really living is a little shove in the right direction - and that's just what Holly Kennedy gets. From the handsome, big-hearted love of her life. From a series of mysterious letters. And from gal pals who know that a friend in need is a friend in need of some laughs! Based on Cecelia Ahern's joyful bestseller and boasting a top cast led by two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler, P.S. I Love You is your very own message full of fun, love, triumph and romance. Open it now. (P.S. You'll love it!)

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$9.283 million on 2454 screens.
Domestic Gross
$53.680 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.85:1/16X9
Fullscreen 1.33:1
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English

Runtime: 126 min.
Price: $28.96
Release Date: 5/6/2008

Bonus:
• Five Deleted Scenes
• “A Conversation with Author Cecelia Ahern” Featurette
• “The Name of the Game Is Snaps” Featurette
• Music Video
• Previews


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EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Harman/Kardon DPR 2005 7.1 Channel Receiver; Toshiba A-30 HD-DVD/1080p Upconverting DVD Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


P.S. I Love You (2007)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 22, 2008)

Oscar victories can lead to extra money at the box office, but apparently they can’t turn an actor into a big draw. Exhibit “A”: Hilary Swank. Her two Best Actress trophies put her in rarified territory, but she can’t seem to translate the critical respect into popular appeal.

And it’s not like she hasn’t tried. If Swank focused on small “art flicks” like her breakout movie, Boys Don’t Cry, then her box office failures wouldn’t be an issue. However, Swank clearly wants to gain more popular appeal. Why else would she star in lowest common denominator efforts like The Core and The Reaping.

With a gross of $58 million, 2007’s PS I Love You wasn’t a dud, but it did nothing to establish Hilary as America’s Sweetheart. Swank plays Holly, the exceedingly practical and conservative wife of carefree Irishman Gerry (Gerard Butler). They have conflicts related to their current status, as she wants more stability for their lives to go forward and have kids.

They reconcile quickly, because their love is just too darned strong! Alas, their love won’t last due to tragedy. Gerry dies due to a brain tumor and her world goes into uncharted territory since the fastidious Holly has no plan for this scenario. She becomes a sloppy shut-in before a surprise occurs on her 30th birthday. Gerry sends her directions from beyond the grave: he orders her to have fun and tells her she’ll receive further instructions as time progresses. The movie follows all of Holly’s adventures as she deals with her grief and lives up to Gerry’s expectations.

A while back I mentioned to a friend that I thought Swank was pretty hot. Incredulous, he offered a two-word response: “horse face???” Yeah, Swank may have a horse face, but she also has a heck of a body and she can be awfully sexy.

I focus on Swank’s physical charms because those are literally the only charms on display in this tedious, cloying piece of nonsense. Oh, and let me throw “predictable” into the mix as well. You know how when a movie’s secondary character starts talking about all their grand plans for the future, that means they’re doomed? The same concept works here. PS telegraphs Gerry’s fate early, as he talks incessantly about how he’s not going anywhere, they’re forever, blah blah blah.

In other words: better start digging a hole, because he’ll be six feet under before long. This means the movie starts in a predictable manner and it rarely diverges from an easily anticipated series of events. Okay, I’ll admit it takes a left turn or two, but not enough to make it interesting.

It doesn’t help that it appears PS was written by the Chick Flick 2000, a computer program that churns out this XX-chromosome crap. I can enjoy some chick flicks, but they need to be more creative than this warmed-over nonsense. You’ve seen virtually everything here before, and you’ve undoubtedly seen it done in a superior manner.

PS essentially splits into thirds. It throws out sappy romance, weepy emotion and lame comedy. When I say the film divides three ways, though, I don’t mean that each aspect gets its own act. Instead, the film creates an awkward blend of the elements, and often tries to toss all three at us at the same time.

This means we find bizarre sequences like the one at Gerry’s wake. Everyone’s sad, of course (weepy emotion), but other bits appear as well. The bartender hits on Holly (sappy romance) and her aging single friend hits on any potential mates (lame comedy).

In what world does the bartender at a wake hit on the widow? The same one where the widow’s best friend tries to score. I can buy the weepy emotion, and perhaps some form of comedy would’ve worked, but the way the movie presents these elements doesn’t succeed. They just make the flick seem unreal and phony.

That continues through its 126 minutes. And no, that length isn’t a typo. A flick like this should probably clock in around 100 minutes, so the extra length turns PS into a marathon. Granted, 85 minutes of this nonsense would’ve been unpleasant, but more than two hours of it becomes torture.

How did Swank end up in this part? Nothing about her says “chick flick romantic comedy star”. She lacks the lightness and spirit of a Julia Roberts, Reese Witherspoon or someone more appropriate for this kind of piece. Swank never looks comfortable in the part, and after her Karaoke version of Prince’s “Gett Off”, they should revoke at least one of her Oscars.

No one else offers good work either, as they mostly look disheartened to be stuck in this stinker. We get a particularly weird performance from Harry Connick, Jr., as the bartender/potential love interest. The film wants us to see him as blunt in a charming way, but instead, he seems like a mental deficient. I half expected him to start screaming “five minutes to Wapner!”

Half cheesy schmaltz and half sitcom humor, PS I Love You is all terrible. There’s not a real character, situation or emotion in the whole thing. Cloying, cutesy and genuinely annoying, it gives chick flicks a bad name.


The DVD Grades: Picture D+/ Audio C+/ Bonus C-

PS I Love You appears in both an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 and in a fullscreen version on this double-sided, single-layered DVD; the widescreen image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Only the letterboxed picture was reviewed for this article. Cramming a 126-minute movie plus about half an hour of extras onto a single layer is never a good idea, and the transfer of PS suffered.

The excessive compression created most of the problems. The film took on a gauzy look, as artifacts made it seem like it was shot through a light screen. Sharpness struggled as well. The movie usually demonstrated adequate definition, but more than a few soft shots emerged along the way. The flick gave us passable delineation and that was about it. At least it lacked jagged edges or shimmering, though edge enhancement cropped up at times and I saw a couple of small specks.

Colors appeared decent at best. The general murkiness meant that they lacked much vivacity and tended to seem somewhat drab and flat. Blacks followed suit, as dark elements looked muddy, and shadows were too dense. Low-light shots came across as dull and somewhat tough to discern. This was a consistently weak transfer that deserved a “D+”.

Though I had fewer complaints about the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of PS I Love You, I couldn’t find much to praise, either. I expected that, though, since I wouldn’t anticipate a wild experience from this sort of romantic comedy. The soundfield focused relentlessly on the front spectrum, and music presented the most prominent element. The score showed good stereo imaging, and we got some minor ambience, but that was about it. If the surrounds played a part, I didn’t notice them; they added some mild reinforcement and nothing else. This was a very low-key experience.

Audio quality was fine. Speech sounded distinctive and natural, without edginess or other issues. Effects didn’t have much to do, but they were acceptable for what they offered. Music appeared reasonably full and rich. There wasn’t enough here to merit a grad above a “C+”, though, so don’t expect a memorable soundtrack.

Only a minor smattering of extras fills out the DVD. A Conversation with Author Cecilia Ahern runs seven minutes, 31 seconds. In addition to novelist Ahern, we hear from producers Molly Smith and Wendy Finerman, writer/director Richard LaGravenese, and actors Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler. We learn about the novel’s genesis, its adaptation for the screen, and some aspects of the production. The program’s brevity makes it fairly superficial, but it nonetheless dispenses with a fair amount of information in a short period of time. That makes it a reasonably useful piece.

For something unusual, we go to The Name of the Game Is Snaps. This four-minute and 48-second reel offers a tutorial for the annoying game seen in the movie. It’s presented like a 1950s style educational film, a choice that makes it almost as irritating as the dopey game itself.

Next comes a music video for “Same Mistake” by James Blunt. It mixes movie clips with odd shots of Blunt as he wanders around town. It’s more creative than most videos, but it’s still not particularly interesting, and the song itself is a sappy dud.

Five Additional Scenes fill a total of 12 minutes and 35 seconds. These mostly expand some of the secondary characters, as we see more of Holly’s sister Ciara and some of the others. We also check out a flashback that shows a very ill Gerry at the travel agent. These scenes are as good as anything in the final flick, so I’d assume they were cut for length.

A few ads open the DVD. We get clips for Fool’s Gold, Mama’s Boy and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2. No trailer for PS appears here.

If forced to say something nice about PS I Love You, I can concentrate solely on my admiration for Hilary Swank’s sexy body. Otherwise, this tedious, tiresome piece of inanity is a complete loser. It’s never funny, charming or even remotely enjoyable as it provides a stale chick flick. The DVD presents surprisingly bad picture quality along with mediocre audio and a small collection of supplements. Stay far away from this clunker.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.4545 Stars Number of Votes: 11
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main