Helen Harris is living the life she's always dreamed of: her career at a top modeling agency is on the rise; she spends her days at fashion shows and her nights at the city's hottest clubs. But her carefree lifestyle comes to a screeching halt when one phone call changes everything. Helen soon finds herself responsible for her sister's children: 15-year-old Audrey, 10-year-old Henry, and 5-year-old Sarah. No one doubts that Helen is the coolest aunt in New York, but what does this glamour girl know about raising kids? The fun begins as Helen goes through the transformation from super-hip to super-mom, but she quickly finds that dancing at 3a.m. doesn't mix with getting kids to school on time--advice that Helen's older sister, Jenny, is only too quick to dish out. Along the way, Helen finds support in the most unusual place--with Dan Parker, the handsome young pastor and principal of the kids' new school--and realizes the choice she has to make is between the life she's always loved ... Written by
Sujit R. Varma
"Raising Helen" is a formulaic romantic comedy that makes you wonder when Kate Hudson will again find a role that will actually allow her to stretch herself as an actress, fulfilling the promise she made half a decade ago in "Almost Famous." Since then it's been mostly downhill for Hudson, and the ironically titled "Raising Helen" does nothing to help arrest or reverse that slide.
Hudson plays Helen Harris, a young woman whose budding career in the fashion industry is suddenly cut short when her sister and brother-in-law are killed in a car accident, leaving Helen to raise their three children. Things go from bad to worse, as the once carefree Helen struggles with the trials and tribulations and life-changing vicissitudes of unplanned motherhood.
This is a typical Garry Marshall film in that, even when it tries to deal with "real world" issues such as death, loss, grief, sibling rivalry, teenage angst etc., it does so in only the most superficial, glossy and unconvincing of terms. Heck, there's even a hunky, hockey-playing Lutheran minister on hand - the kind one can only find in movies - to provide spiritual as well as romantic comfort for those times when the going gets to be just a bit too tough for the harried guardian.
The performances are uniformly uninteresting, but I choose to blame the shallow writing rather than the actors in this case. It's particularly painful to see actresses of the caliber of Felicity Huffman and Joan Cusack cast adrift in this sea of "chick flick" platitudes and feel-good movie clichés - but everyone in this film suffers a similar fate.
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