Raising Helen


Kate Hudson as Helen Harris
John Corbett as Pastor Dan Parker
Joan Cusack as Jenny Portman
Hayden Panettiere as Audrey Davis
Spencer Breslin as Henry Davis
Abigail Breslin as Sarah Davis
Helen Mirren as Dominique
Sakina Jaffrey as Nilma Prasad
Kevin Kilner as Ed Portman
Felicity Huffman as Lindsay Davis
Sean O’Bryan as Paul Davis
Amber Valletta as Martina
Ethan Browne as Devon
Michael Esparza as BZ
Katie Carr as Caitlin

Helen Harris (Kate Hudson) has it all. Great looks, a dream job working at a top modeling agency in New York, a sexy boyfriend, and a great family
outside of the city. Her life changes dramatically when her oldest sister dies in an auto accident and leaves Helen custody of her three children.

“Raising Helen” is a multi-level coming of age movie. Helen might seem to have it all, but she is missing the satisfaction of having a family of her own. At the same time, her sisters children are overcoming the death of their parents. Helen’s transition from fashion agent to mommy of three, while at times rocky, is often funny and a pleasure to watch.

Technically, the movie is solid. There are few effects, and the ones that are used are seamless. The score is well integrated into the film and never gets in the way of the dialog.

The acting in the movie is great considering the material they are working with. Joan Cusack (Jenny, Helen’s other sister) is perfect as the wiser and less fun “responsible” sister. John Corbett provides his standard down to earth romantic interest as Pastor Dan, but that is what the role calls for. The child actors are the low point but do not detract from the overall feel of the movie.

As a romantic comedy, the movie is great. Kate Husdon is charming and gives her lines well. The chemistry she has with John Corbett is great. The problem is the premise that the comedy is set upon. The death of her sister lands her sister’s children in her lap. The drama that involves, while not entirely glossed over, mostly is missing. The children take the loss of their parents in stride and it just does not feel right. Some of this might be duo to the inability of the child actors to pull off complex emotions on screen, hard to fault them when experienced actors also have a hard time doing that. The majority of the blame, however, rests in a script that
glosses over the movie’s shapeing moment or director Garry Marshall who could not get the children’s feelings on screen.

Who should see this movie? Kate Hudson fans will love her here. She looks more and more like her mother, Goldie Hawn, every day and she has the same excellent comedic timing. If you can overlook the tragic deaths, the movie pretty much does so it should not be that hard, this is a great little romantic comedy. If you are looking for a drama, you will probably enjoy the movie but wish that more time was spent developing the younger characters. If acton is what you are looking for, you need to go someplace else. “Raising Helen” is a fun and charming movie, as long as you do not take the time to think about it. If all you are looking for is light summer romance, you will be well served. If you plan on analyzing the movie afterwards, it might not stand up to the closer examination.