Helen Harris (Kate Hudson) is living the life she's always dreamed of: her career at a top modelling 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: fifteen-year-old Audrey (Hayden Panettiere), ten-year-old Henry (Spencer Breslin), and five-year-old Sarah (Abigail Breslin). No one doubts that Helen is the coolest aunt in New York City, but what does this glamor 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 Portman (Joan Cusack), is only too quick to dish out. Along the way, Helen finds support in the most unusual place, with Dan Parker (John Corbett), the handsome young pastor...Written by
Sujit R. Varma
There's a scene early in the movie where Kate convinces a guy to let her friend into a club even though her friend isn't on the "list." Kate leans over, puts her head on the dude's chest, writes the girl's name, and comments, "Now she's on the list." Worked like a charm. Come on, how many guys can resist that? What? Oh, I mean besides any of the male designers on "Trading Spaces." Kate pretty much does the same thing with this movie. She smiled, blinked her eyes at me, giggled a little, put her head on my chest, and convinced me to keep watching.
This isn't a great movie, but Kate's smile and personality are enough to keep it from being a chore to watch. However, if you were to replace Kate with someone like Kirsten Dunst, then I would've been out of the theater in about 15 minutes.
The story isn't really original, and to no one's surprise it's pretty predictable as well. Carefree gal is loving life. Tragedy intervenes and forces her to change lifestyle. Someone (older sister, Joan Cusack) is there to provide conflict. Carefree gal decides she truly CAN handle her new life. Tears are shed, hands are held, hugs are in groups, and "Kumbaya" is figuratively sung. Roll credits.
If you're expecting loads of laugh, then you're likely to be disappointed. This movie focuses more on the dramatic, especially near the end where things just start to get way too sappy for any guy not named Richard Simmons. But there are some cute and funny moments sprinkled throughout, most as a direct result of Kate's charm. However, John Corbett (who plays a Lutheran pastor) has a great line when he tells Kate, "I'm a sexy man of God, and I know it."
Joan Cusack does a pretty good job as well. Kate is the coolest aunt in the world, while Joan is the most motherly. You see, Joan's the aunt who'll kick your butt and make you mad, but she's the kind of person kids need around 'em. She has one of the best scenes in the movie when she shows up at a hotel and totally lays the smack down on a little punk who took her 15-year-old niece (Hayden Panettiere) there during prom. The older women in the movie theater clapped and cheered. Little boys dream about being superheroes, baseball players, and firemen. Little girls dream about being princesses, actresses, and dating Kirk Cameron (well, at least Stephanie did). But this scene is what mothers and aunts dream about.
If you want to see a much better movie dealing with a similar "my lifestyle will completely change because of this tragedy" theme, then I recommend "Jersey Girl." But those of you who are in dire need of some big-screen Kate Hudson should be satisfied as long as you're not looking for a movie to challenge you or have you guffawing in your seat.
"Raising Helen" is truly a chick flick, and it should definitely please its intended female audience. But guys, if you like Kate Hudson, then it's not the worst movie to sit through if you wanna score some points by taking your lady to see this. If you're the type of person who can cry during a long-distance phone commercial then this is movie gold for you.
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