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Monday, 8 October 2018

Retro Review: Raising Helen (2004)

Raising Helen
Cast: Kate Hudson, John Corbett, Joan Cusack, Hayden Panettiere, Spencer Breslin, Abigail Breslin, Helen Mirren, Felicity Huffman 
Genre: Comedy Drama
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $49 million 

Plot: After her sister and brother-in-law die in a car accident, a young woman becomes the guardian of their 3 children 

'Raising Ain't Amazing, Far From It'

Released one year after the hit rom-com, How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days alongside Matthew McConaughey, Kate Hudson starred in the comedy-drama, Raising Helen directed by Garry Marshall of Pretty Woman, The Princess Diaries, as well as Overboard which starred her parents, Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, back in 1987. 

Helen Harris is an ambitious executive assistant in New York's swanky fashion business, who inherits two nieces and a nephew when one of her older sisters and her husband are killed in a car accident. Later on, she meets up with a pastor and develops feelings for him.
Hayden Panettiere's character, Audrey was just irritating and selfish, she was so unlikeable.  Joan Cusack as Jenny had little to do, and still, she was probably the most effective out of the main cast, whereas Kate Hudson's Helen remains threadbare and doesn't really make many sweeping changes as a person up until right towards the end. By that point, it is too little, too late. My Big Fat Greek Wedding's John Corbett plays the love interest for Hudson's Helen.

Written by the writers of Freak Show, Disney channel movie, Go Figure and The Shaggy Dog Story with Tim Allen, this was a waste of almost 2 hours and for a light drama was almost so utterly dreary to the extreme. Not one single storyline was conceived in an entertaining sense and its tone is played too straight and is far too serious. It attempts to touch on aspects of responsibility, family and maturing as a parent, only it is conceived in a way that made it extremely tedious and a chore to bear. 

I hate speaking of the ill dead, but Garry Marshall has never made a movie that I love, and this was before watching Raising Helen.... and right after seeing this, he still didn't make a movie that I enjoy thoroughly. & his approach is far too lightweight and cookie-cutter like to make any real effect. This was pure fluff, all the way through with no attempt to challenge the characters and barely any conflict and drama to give the film something to work with. 

Plus, it was boring; so boring this is the blandest film Marshall has delivered that I have sat through. 

Kate Hudson has a natural charisma that is a suitable fit for lighter roles and comedy and romantic comedies. It is a real shame, however, that in Raising Helen, and the box office bomb that is Mother's Day of 2016, also directed by Garry Marshall, she's ill-served by a director, and the creator of Mork & Mindy, especially with the latter it was Robin Williams who was the main reason for its success and appeal moreso than Marshall, and that his films but for one, two exceptions, remain cookie-cutter stuff which also lacks depth. 

The romance part involving Kate Hudson and John Corbett is never followed through, nor does it develop properly and fully. 

Final Verdict:

There is a song titled, 'You Raise Me Up'..... well this film didn't raise me up - in fact, it is almost insufferable. 


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