Writer/director Dylan Kidd brought the public one of the best films of 2002 in Roger Dodger. That film was about a teen who spends a night with his playboy uncle and learns about women. It dealt with sex and all the courtship ideas in a mature, funny way. Alas... I wish I could say that continued with Kidd's follow up, P.S. A story of a admissions officer (Laura Linney) who finds herself thrown for a loop when an art student F. Scott (Topher Grace) applies to her university. Topher's character shares the name of an old high school boyfriend of Linney's WHO was also an art student... hmmm.
Linney calls to schedule an interview and she quickly takes him to her apartment soon after for sex. As if that wasn't a complicated enough start to a movie, Gabriel Byrne appears as Linney's exhusband whom she still works with and talks to everyday. Toss in a Marcia Gay Harden as another old love of F. Scott and is best friends with the Linney character and you have a lot of different avenues for the film to go down.
Laura Linney and Gabriel Byrne have the best scenes of the film. Witness one scene where Gabriel owns up to what really drove apart their marriage. This perfectly illustrates just what a good actor can do with so-so material. Whereas, all the scenes with Topher Grace never quite work. Grace seems completely out of his element with real actors. (Apparently, he still thinks he is on a goofy sitcom with that assclown Ashton Kutcher.) His performance is the most important to the story of whether or not you believe Linney's ex is in fact reborn in his body. Grace has proved himself a functional actor who did a decent job with In Good Company, but is all over the place here.
The films takes some very safe choices and tries a little too hard to have a fully resolved ending. I expected much more from the ballsy filmmaker who brought us Roger Dodger. Perhaps with another actor in the F. Scott role, Kidd could have made this material work well enough to give it a shot.... ah but we shall never know.