"p.s.", the second feature by Dylan Kidd (Rodger Dodger), is a pleasant trifle. The story of 39-year old Louise Harrington (Laura Linney) who basks in the company of her ex-husband (Gabriel Byrne) until she falls in love with the 22-year old reincarnation of her first love is based on the novel by Helen Schulman, who co-wrote the screenplay with Kidd. The movie does not work the all important supernatural plot element falls flat with a resounding thud but Linney is a joy to watch.
"p.s." opens with Louise in the bathroom, washing her face, applying her make-up. She takes her time, studying herself in the mirror, and wordlessly, Lynney reveals almost everything you need to know about her character. The pervasive feeling of both melancholy and yearning is instantly understood, and from the start, she is someone you can't help but root for. Because it's a romantic comedy, Louise must find love.
The object of her love is surprising. Not only is F. Scott Feinstadt (Topher Grace) much younger, but he is also an applicant at the Columbia graduate program, where Louise is the director of admissions. Conflict of interest never deters her, however, because she is convinced F. Scott is her old boyfriend, come back to life.
Topher Grace, making the break from television stardom ("That '70s Show") to the big screen, holds his own against the remarkable Linney. Though he looks perhaps more like a frat boy than an aspiring artist, his delivery of lines rings honest and true. Their chemistry is lovely.
The plot takes its tumble when Louise's best friend Missy (Marcia Gay Harden) takes a plane across the country to check out F. Scott. She, too, comes to the conclusion that he is Louise's old boyfriend reincarnated into a younger body. If this were not enough, we learn Missy also loved him, and that he had dumped Louise for Missy not long before his death. Louis's true lost love had dumped her! Marcia Gay Harden makes the best she can of the awful role. As the bored, bitter housewife, she shows ample cleavage and vamps it up to the hilt, but Missy is a horror.
On top of this, Louise's adored ex-husband confesses that he is a sex addict in love with a woman named Farrah. There is also an unnecessary younger brother, played by Paul Rudd, who is a recovering drug addict , and a stereotypical loving mother who putters away in the garden. "p.s." is working far too hard to be clever, and it all distracts from the good stuff: Laura Linney and Topher Grace fumbling towards each other.