"P.S. I Love You” does not begin well: To establish a love that transcends death, viewers are treated to a protracted scene of Holly and Gerry Kennedy tearing each other's hearts out in a vicious marital squabble.
And then Gerry's dead. No, Holly did not kill him, and yes, she really loved him. Gerry, played amiably by Gerard Butler, died shortly thereafter of a brain tumor, leaving Holly (Hilary Swank) to mourn his absence and question the meaning of life without him. Her mother (Kathy Bates) and friends (Lisa Kudrow and Gina Gershon) try to reintroduce Holly to the outside world, but nothing seems to work, not even the attention of lonely, Asperger's syndrome-afflicted bartender Daniel (Harry Connick Jr.). The only thing that might take Holly out of the shadows is a series of letters Gerry wrote before he died, telling Holly how to move beyond her grief and reconnect with life. What does not work is this lachrymose adaptation of Cecilia Ahern's best-selling novel, in which writer-director Richard LaGravenese seems to be tugging at heartstrings when he's really manipulating us with sentimentality. Swank is so much better than this, and when she is forced to perform a drunken, disheveled Judy Garland sing-a-long in the dead husband's boxer shorts, it begs the question: Aren't two Oscar wins supposed to save an actress from this fate? It is not fair. The men fare much better.
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"P.S. I Love You”
PG-13 2:06 * * Starring: Hilary Swank, Gerard Butler, Lisa Kudrow, Harry Connick Jr. (Sexual references and brief nudity)