Holly Kennedy (Hilary Swank) doesn’t know how lucky she has it. She’s smart beautiful and married to Gerry (Gerald Butler) a passionate funny and impetuous Irishman who loves her with every breath in his body. But when that breath runs out--Gerry dies unexpectedly from an illness--Holly’s luck runs out. Barely coping her salvation arrives in the form of letters from Gerry that come to Holly in unexpected ways--letters he wrote to her before he died to help her get through the pain and move on with her life and letters that always end with “P.S. I Love You.” A saint huh? Holly’s mother (Kathy Bates) and best friends Sharon (Gina Gershon) and Denise (Lisa Kudrow) begin to worry Gerry’s letters are keeping Holly tied to the past but in fact each letter pushes Holly on a journey of rediscovery and to show her how a love so strong can turn the finality of death into new beginning for life. Tissues please! Swank will be damned if she pigeonholes herself into always playing serious women who don’t wear makeup. P.S. I Love You is her stab at romantic dramedy and while the genre may not suit her best the Oscar-winning actress still has fun playing a spirited woman who wears designer clothes cute hats and gets to make out with a strapping Irish hunk. Actually Swank gets to bed TWO strapping Irish hunks in P.S. I Love You: The first is the yummy Butler of course and the other is Gerry’s old bandmate William played by American Jeffrey Dean Morgan (who’ll be seen in the upcoming romantic comedy The Accidental Husband with Uma Thurman). Lucky girl. Butler however is the one the ladies will sigh over the most. Having already given a powerhouse performance this year as the Spartan king in 300 the Scottish actor turns the tables to show his soft underbelly as the adorably romantic and fun-lovin’ Gerry. The abs still rock though. One can easily see why Holly is such a mess after he dies. Gershon and Kudrow add some genuineness as Holly’s friends (someone please find a Kudrow a TV show) as does Bates as Holly’s hardened mother. Harry Connick Jr. however seems out of place as Holly’s would-be suitor. She just needs to stick with the Irish guys. Hilary Swank teams up with her Freedom Writers director Richard LaGravenese once again for P.S. I Love You and it’s clear they have a symbiotic relationship. Swank probably likes the way LaGravenese accentuates her best features turning her into a glam leading lady while LaGravenese obviously enjoys gazing at her through his camera lens. Unfortunately the two really haven’t found the best material. Freedom Writers is the mother of all teacher-gets-students-motivated retreads while P.S. I Love You--based on a novel by Cecelia Ahern and adapted by LaGravenese and Steven Rogers--is just pure fluff with very little substance behind it. Not that the film won't inspire some romantic feelings or work up tears but its only real strengths are: 1) the players who somehow rise about the triteness of it all especially Butler and 2) the gorgeous landscapes of Ireland which should send any woman in her right mind straight to the Emerald Isles to find her perfect man. Seriously ladies book your trips NOW.
Last we heard in last year’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman Madea (Tyler Perry) was solving social cultural and familial problems. What a busy lady! Well she’s done gone and done it again after a whole new crop of problems pop up that need fixing. This time the conflicts revolve primarily around two sisters Vanessa (Lisa Arrindell Anderson) and Lisa (Rochelle Aytes) both of whom are wary of their financial-minded mother Victoria (Lynn Whitfield). Vanessa is deathly afraid to love again after her husband left her and two kids and fears she might’ve met Mr. Right in the form of a bus driver (Boris Kodjoe). Meanwhile Lisa is in a physically abusive relationship with Carlos (Blair Underwood) “Atlanta’s most eligible bachelor ” but is afraid to leave him. Madea the antithesis of gold-digging Victoria solves these and many more problems as the family reunion nears. After Mad Black Woman’s surprise box office take last year bigger names were less reluctant to sign on. Accordingly the new actors in Reunion are very solid—borderline stellar collectively. The lone exception is Perry as Madea (as well as a few other characters) whose over-the-topness although expected reduces the air of professionalism from the rest. Underwood is so damn good at being so damn bad as the abusive fiancée Carlos while Whitfield matches him chill for chill in a very icy performance. The relative unknowns/newcomers are the most pleasant surprises however. Aytes has breathtaking beauty that would normally overshadow acting but not here. Anderson whose last film was ‘95’s Clockers is equally beautiful and evocative as a single mother torn. And for the female eyes there’s Kodjoe whom girls will likely fall for even more when they learn he can actually act. Perry wears many hats in Family Reunion: writer director producer star--and oh yeah he also wrote the popular stage production from which the film is adapted. Perhaps Perry’s workaholic attitude contributes to the film’s thematic overkill. There are a number of kinks in the film’s completely uneven story and the way it is told but perhaps the biggest problem stems from the fact that it still feels like a stage play. Sometimes that’s a plus for a film but it’s hard to think it was intended. This feeling is elicited by the sum of the story’s parts. Perry will be in one scene telling the tale of a beleaguered battered woman amid a linear and conventional storyline and in the next scene become Madea in her cartoonish and campy getup dishing out her tough love techniques. No doubt Reunion is an enjoyable play--only if you agree with Perry’s comedic remedies for serious issues.
Two kids, numerous public love affairs and one giant diamond "friendship" ring later, Madonna is about to walk down the aisle again.
That's what the gossip gurus at US Weekly are reporting in this week's magazine, due out Friday. And although the Queen of Music’s publicist is denying the reports, the magazine is reporting that the wedding invitations for Madonna and filmmaker Guy Ritchie have already gone out. The grand day is scheduled for sometime in December at a Scottish castle.
Hmmm. Will Dennis Rodman be invited?
OOPS!…SHE’S DOING IT AGAIN: Teen pop queen Britney Spears is stealing the show again, this time as host of the American Music Awards, Reuters reports. Spears, who turns 19 next month, will be the show's youngest host since pop singer Debbie Gibson shared hosting duties with Kenny Rogers, Anita Baker and Rod Stewart in 1989. The show, now in its 28th year, will take place Jan. 8 at L.A.'s Shrine Auditorium. Nominations are scheduled to be announced Nov. 13.
LIMP IS STRONG: The people have spoken. Rock fans prefer a healthy diet of "Chocolate Starfish & the Hot Dog-Flavored Water" over "Greatest Hits." Limp Bizkit's third studio release held its No. 1 spot as the top-selling album for the second consecutive week on The Billboard 200, beating out Lenny Kravitz's greatest hits compilation. "Chocolate Starfish" sold nearly 393,000 copies, according to SoundScan, already adding to the one million units it sold last week. Kravitz's "Hits" debuted at No. 2 with 162,000 copies sold.
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER: It's never too late to get on the Web. Thirty years after the Beatles split up, the band is launching its first official Web site next month, Reuters reports. The site, thebeatles.com, is scheduled to go live Nov. 13 to coincide with the release of "1," the bands newest collection featuring all 27 of the Fab Four's No. 1 hits. The site's content will mostly concentrate on "1" at first, with more items to be added on later. The band's surviving members, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison, as well as John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, all contributed to the site.
THIRD EYE BLIND LAWSUIT: This musician isn't about to turn a deaf ear to Third Eye Blind. Guitarist Kevin Cadogan is suing his former band, saying he was cheated out of 50 percent ownership of the band promised him back in 1993. However, the lawsuit says all shares went to Third Eye Blind founder Stephan Jenkins, The Associated Press reports. Cadogan, who was kicked out of the band in January, says he co-wrote 14 songs on each of the band's two platinum-selling albums.
BUFFET’S BUFFET: From the concert stage to the greasy grill, Jimmy Buffet is moving into the burger business. The singer is working on opening an island-themed eatery based on one of his famous songs, "Cheeseburger in Paradise," AP reports. Buffet already has one restaurant chain with the name of another hit song, "Margaritaville." He's also opening two Krispy Kreme doughnut shops in Palm Beach (Fla.) County.