Saddled with a fairly small release, "P.S." barely made a splash in theaters. The fact that the similar "Birth" was also released around the same period also took away from the film. "P.S." is the latest effort from director Dylan Kidd, whose dark, sharp-witted "Rodger Dodger" was an entertaining indie effort. The film focuses on Louise Harrington (Laura Linney, dressing hot for once in her career, and looking surprisingly good), a Columbia admissions officer in her thirties. She'd lost her first love in a car accident, and one day F. Scott Feinstadt (Topher Grace), an 18-year-old potential student, walks into her office.
The odd thing: he looks exactly like her ex-lover, has the same name and the same interests. It's not long before the two are rolling around in the sack. This core element of the movie - a woman finding herself reawakened by a man who is so close to the love she lost years ago that he could be him - is pretty involving, if never wrapped up in a way that was entirely satisfying, as the film seems as if it doesn't quite know how to bring the story to a conclusion. Many will be expecting something with at least a slightly supernatural feel, but the film is entirely grounded.
I also liked the dynamic between Linney and Grace, as the oil/water combination of their acting styles actually fits really well. The serious, subtle Linney is terrific, and Grace's sharp, funny performance is quite enjoyable. The rest of the movie, however, didn't work as well. The subplot with Louise's best friend Missy (Marcia Gay Harden, irritating, as the character feels like she's from a different movie) trying to steal away F. Scott because of past feelings is soap opera material that really drags the second half down. The subplot about Peter (Gabriel Byrne), Louise's ex-husband, being a sex addict that bedded potentially hundreds of people, is brought up and really goes nowhere. Paul Rudd is also wasted as Louise's brother.
There's other issues, as well - some aspects of the story aren't believable, and there's no real issue made of the fact that an admissions officer is sleeping with a potential student. It's to the credit of Grace and Linney that I was able to buy the two getting together so early in the movie - otherwise, that'd completely strain credibility, as well. Overall, the romance at the core of the film works fairly well due to the performances, but "P.S." really could have been better had it developed the story more and ditched the Marcia Gay Harden character entirely.
VIDEO: "P.S." is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen (although it's listed as just "widescreen" on the back) by Columbia/Tristar. The picture quality is fine, but unremarkable. Sharpness and detail are satisfactory, but a little sketchy at times, as some scenes veer towards being rather soft, while others appear crisp, if not exceptionally well-defined and sharp.
Some concerns were present throughout: slight pixelation was visible in some scenes, and edge enhancement was occasionally noticed. Some minor grain was spotted, but the print appeared clean. The film's mostly subtle, natural color palette seemed fairly well-represented here, with no smearing or other faults. Overall, a decent transfer.
SOUND: "P.S." is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1, although the picture never really extends beyond simply being dialogue-driven. Audio quality remained fine, with clear dialogue and music.
EXTRAS: The DVD includes a commentary from director Dylan Kidd and cinematographer Joaquín Baca-Asay. A set of deleted scenes (w/optional director's commentary) and previews for other Columbia/Tristar titles round out the DVD.
Final Thoughts: "P.S." offers two great lead performances, but the rest of the movie is in need of more development and organization - two subplots just entirely didn't work for me. It's worth a rental for fans of the actors. Columbia/Tristar's DVD edition provides satisfactory audio/video quality, along with a decent handful of supplements.