2004 - R - 97 Mins.
|Director: Dylan Kidd|
|Producer: John Hart|
|Written By: Dylan Kidd, Helen Schulman|
|Starring: Laura Linney, Topher Grace, Gabriel Byrne, Marica Gay Harden, Paul Rudd |
|Review by: Harrison Cheung
With a killer cast that includes Laura Linney (‘Kinsey’), Topher Grace (‘That 70s Show’), Paul Rudd (‘Cider House Rules’), Gabriel Byrne (‘The Usual Suspects’) and Marcia Gay Harden (‘Mystic River’), how could ‘P.S.’ not be a little gem of a film? But clumsy story lines and soap opera dialog have relegated the movie to crapdom. Linney stars as Louise Harrington, the Head of Admissions of the Arts school at Columbia University in New York. When she comes across an application from an F. Scott Feinstadt, a young man (Grace) who coincidentally bears the same name as her high school boyfriend who died 25 years ago, she decides to bring him in for an interview.
P.S. I hated this movie.
Struck by this name from the past, Louise digs through her closet and mopes about the past. Almost 40, she has had one failed marriage to a seemingly distinguished professor (Byrne) so she reminisces about her old boyfriend, Scott. When she finally meets the new “Scott,” she is stunned to find that he looks, sounds and paints exactly like her old boyfriend. Is he for real? Is he a reincarnation? A torrid affair ensues - but those seeking celebrity skin will be disappointed.
There’s so much wrong with ‘P.S.’ that it’s a shame to diss a movie with such great talents at work. The problem seems to be that the movie was edited to pieces so that the scenes have no flow or logic. Some of those scenes are on the DVD in the “Deleted Scenes” section and it’s a shame that they weren’t integrated into a director’s cut since they explained a lot more.
To add to the mess, the script grafts on distractions galore. Louise resents her recovering drug addict brother, Sammy (Rudd), resents her pie-baking mom, and picks fights with her best friend Missy (Gay Harden) over old high school romance rivalries. From out of nowhere, we also get a bizarre revelation from her ex-husband who seems to serve no other purpose than to drive her back into Scott’s arms.
As the boy toy in this movie, Topher Grace portrays hyper-artsy Scott with great peevishness and not much heat. There isn’t anything particularly likeable about this character who doesn’t have any warning bells going off when the head of admissions seduces him. There are some genuinely nasty exchanges between Scott and Louise – all the more senseless given that they’ve only known each other for a couple of days.
Performances are all good if completely senseless. When they shoot a movie, they typical shoot the scenes out of sequence and it seems as if they edited the movie that way as well since, from scene-to-scene, nothing makes sense.
The cinematography is a different story – someone loves green in the palette, so New York has never looked greener. Oddly enough, Louise doesn’t have a single photo of her old Scott – just a pen & paper sketch that she clutches purposely.
The script, based on a novel by Helen Schulman, purposely avoids the supernatural question about reincarnation, instead, trying to aim the drama about impending mid-life crises and regrets. Amazon.com says that the book is a comedy but there’s nothing funny about this movie that turns into an illogical gabfest about missed opportunities and bad choices in life.