Writer-director Dylan Kidd's "P.S." is funny, sweet and moving andbetter than most romantic-comedies these days.<br><br>Laura Linney's magnificent. Then again, when is she not? Let's face it,she, and not Julia Roberts, should have won the Best Actress Oscar for2000. Linney makes acting look so easy, a pleasure to watch.<br><br>In "P.S.," Linney's Louise Harrington, a Columbia Universityadministrator who maintains a close relationship with her ex-husband,Peter (Gabriel Byrne). One day she's startled when she gets anapplication to the School of Visual Arts from a young artist named F.Scott Feinstadt. Her shock? Her late childhood sweetheart was an artistnamed Scott Feinstadt. Naturally, Louise wants to know more about theyoung applicant and what follows is a wonderful telling of the lengthsto which we go sometimes to rekindle old passions.<br><br>As captivating as Linney is in this film, Topher Grace, best known forhis playing Eric on TV's "That '70s Show," turns in a performancethat's surprisingly good, filled with warmth, humor. This chap's got apromising career ahead of him. Grace's F. Scott has attitude to spareand Kidd uses him wisely. Our introduction to F. Scott is not what we'dnormally expect - a meet-cute or the initial interview at Columbia. No,the first time we're aware of F. Scott is through a telephone, whenLouise calls him up to ask for samples of his work. It's a deft touchby Kidd. It's a breezy, fun turn by Grace who imbues F. Scott withconfidence and a cavalier attitude that immediately lets us know whatkind of a person he is even before we see him.<br><br>Louise's transformation once she meets F. Scott showcases what a fineactress Linney is. There's this charming schoolgirlish giddiness aboutLouise. We watch as this mature woman feels the excitement of a newlove and it's something with which we're all familiar.<br><br>The film runs into problems when we're introduced to Louise's bestfriend, Missy (Marcia Gay Harden), a flirt who played a key role in theLouise-Scott relationship years before. I never quite bought Harden'srole and the Louise-Missy conflict isn't nearly as interesting aswatching Louise blossom into a sprightly woman with a tremendous crush.Her love affair is more enticing and funnier than a disagreement thatseems fabricated to give us some conflict.<br><br>Kidd doesn't fixate on whether F. Scott really is Louise's sweetheartreborn. It really doesn't matter. This film is about life's delightfulcoincidences. Sometimes, facts are stranger than fiction. So it'sirrelevant whether Kidd solves that mystery.<br><br>Kidd's direction here seems more assured than his debut film, "RodgerDodger" (2002). But his characters aren't as memorable and "P.S." mightnot have moments you recall years later - I still remember the parkbench and party-crashing scenes from "Rodger Dodger." But "P.S." stillis an awfully good film with a fine ensemble cast. It could betightened; the film feels about five minutes too long. But that's aminor quibble.<br><br>This is yet another good film having difficulty getting released."P.S." isn't one of the great films of the year. But it's infinitelybetter than most of the movies in wide release right now. It has twooutstanding performances, plenty of genuinely good laughs and is anenchanting romantic-comedy that deserves to be seen by more people.
Comedy / Drama
Comedy / Drama
Louise Harrington, a divorced, thirty-something admissions officer at Columbia University's School of Fine Arts is intelligent, pretty, and successful, yet unfulfilled. That is, until a graduate school application crosses her desk and she arranges to interview the young painter. When F. Scott Feinstadt appears, he bears an uncanny resemblance to Louise's high school boyfriend and one true love, an artist who died in a car accident twenty years earlier. Within hours of the interview, Louise and Scott have embarked on a passionately uninhibited older woman/younger man affair. But is Scott just a reminder of Louise's lost love? And is Scott just trying to wheedle his way into the Ivy League? Adding to the romantic complications is competition from Louise's best friend from high school, Missy, who shows up to claim the affections of the boy; Louise's co-dependent ex-husband Peter; her cynical mother and fresh-out-of-rehab brother.
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