Raising Helen Garry Marshall

There was a time when having a film directed by Garry Marshall, or one starring Kate Hudson, might have been a good thing. Marshall, in his prime, had a knack for highly entertaining romantic comedies (Pretty Woman) but has since ventured into incredibly mediocre fare like The Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement. Hudson, who just three years ago was ushered into stardom with her wonderful turn in Almost Famous, has continuously tried to have a knack for romantic comedies (Alex & Emma, How To Lose a Guy in Ten Days) but has not done so wisely. But with Raising Helen, both Marshall and Hudson have, hopefully, hit rock bottom. Hudson plays Helen Harris, a well-to-do career woman with little responsibility outside of herself. Except all of this changes when her sister is killed in a car accident and she is forced to take care of her three children. This premise, though highly unoriginal, could have easily played out nicely as a cute popcorn movie. But this is not the case. The screenplay takes bits and pieces from a dozen other mediocre films and puts them in a blender. And the result is downright boring, among many other negative adjectives. The extras on the DVD are more entertaining than the movie itself: commentary by Garry Marshall (who is a very funny guy and does an excellent job at pretending he's proud of this horrible mess), deleted scenes and a blooper reel in which the actors seem to be having a really fun time making the movie. Too bad the audience had such a horrible time watching it. (Touchstone/Buena Vista)