romantic comedy gone sadly off track

[asa book]B000YAA68C[/asa] I haven’t posted about any movies lately, and I think that’s mostly because I haven’t seen many I either loved or hated. There are a few I can recommend: Amazing Grace (though the timing is off at places); the third Bourne movie (what can I say? I like it rough at times.)

Just recently I saw PS I Love You with the Girlchild. I really wanted to love this movie, but as is so often the case with romantic comedy, it falls apart very quickly. Some romantic comedies keep falling when you think there’s no lower they could go. Maid in Manhattan was one of those stinkers. I could name quite a few. But that’s not the case with PS I Love You.

There are some great, great scenes in this movie. I will rent the damn thing just to watch those scenes a couple times. If I had the know-how, I’d re-edit the whole thing because someplace inside the tossed salad that is supposed to be a narrative thread, the best bits got stampeded into the dust or just plain lost.

Who makes these decisions? I know it’s based on a novel, but somebody wrote the screenplay, and then somebody directed it, and still somebody else edited all the scenes together. Who made the series of bad decisions that ruined what could have been a really good movie?

The actors worked so damn hard to keep the thing afloat, but they only succeed in short spurts. Gerard Butler and Jeffrey Dean Morgan are perfectly cast as the good-guy love interests. Scruffy, manly, with killer smiles and gentle ways that can turn oh so devastating when they get up close and personal.

Somebody made the decision to start this movie with an overly long scene between the two primary characters, Holly (Hillary Swank) and her husband of some nine years, Gerry Kennedy (Butler). It’s not an easy scene to pull off because the idea seems to be to front-load all the conflicts, as if getting this out of the way will make the rest of the movie cheery and fun.

But then the husband is suddenly dead of a brain tumor, and from there things drag along while he tries to help her from beyond the grave (by means of letters) to move past her grief. It’s during this long process that we get some great but all too short scenes, but the worst sin is this: we’re three quarters of the way through the damn movie before we see Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s very, very nice, very naked back side.

Okay, that’s not the real problem. The real problem is that it’s not until this late in the movie that we see how Gerry and Holly met. If we had had that up front, we would have all loved Gerry as much as Holly did and we would have understood the depth of her grief. But no. They had to feed us the important stuff in stingy little bites and string them out until the only possible response is to howl with disappointment.

One of the big problems, I think, is that the cast is too big. Holly’s mom and sister and her mom’s bartender (a love-struck, morose Harry Connick Jr.), her best friends plus their husbands and/or significant others…. when really what was needed was more focus on Holly and Gerry and then Holly and WIlliam. I, personally, needed a whole hell of a lot more of William.

I don’t know enough about the film industry to figure out who messed up so badly, but I can say it wasn’t any of the major players. And I can say that if I were one of them, I’d be unhappy about what happened once the film went to editing.