Published Nov 01, 2004Though the synopsis for P.S. sounds an awful lot like the corny Robert Downey Jr. film Chances Are, this second film by Kidd doesn't need to call in the Ghostbusters to rid it of supernatural ooze. As his follow-up to the award-winning Roger Dodger, Kidd has made an unlikely choice in adapting the novel by author Helen Schulman.
P.S. centres on Louise Harrington (Laura Linney), a 39-year-old divorcee who works in the admissions department at Columbia University. Dissatisfied with the little excitement in her life, Louise eagerly invites a late applicant in for an interview when she notices his name is similar to that of her long-deceased high school boyfriend. When F. Scott (Topher Grace) appears looking, sounding and acting like her lost love, she suddenly realises that this isn't just a simple coincidence. Using all of Mrs. Robinson's tricks, she jumps on F. Scott and the two begin a relationship that becomes much more complex than either one bargained for.
P.S. isn't simply a light-hearted May/December rom-com; it exudes much of the same cutting wit Kidd utilised in Roger Dodger. Louise is a far cry from Roger Swanson, the pompous, smooth-talker, but she is an equally troubled and unfulfilled 30-something. Linney's portrayal of the lead is easily her most distinguished role since 2000's award-winning You Can Count On Me. Her late 30s crisis rings true for many singles and her interplay with Grace's F. Scott is a connection that is as awkward to watch as it is comfortable. That awkwardness is felt most in the clumsy but very genuine sex scene, which is filmed in real time, something missing from a lot of movie intercourse.
The supporting cast of Gabriel Byrne, Marcia Gay Harden and Paul Rudd are all equally impressive, but it's Linney's sturdiness and Grace's foolish innocence (an impressive progression beyond his well-known Eric Foreman) that steals the show and makes this a fully enjoyable romantic flick that doesn't succumb to a potential ghost story and the usual pap that goes on with the genre. (Alliance Atlantis)