Kate Hudson has officially given up, y’all. Very early on in her career, she received an Oscar nomination for Almost Famous, and she’s been coasting ever since on a wave of nepotism, corkscrew curls, and a perky smile. Not too long ago, Kate (for better or worse) rose to status as the reigning queen of romcoms, which isn’t exactly a designation of high art, but it does mean for a more than decent standard of living for an actress. Hell, I can’t knock even her really bad romcoms like Fool’s Gold, Bride Wars, and My Best Friend’s Girl because these movies at least achieved their foremost goal — to make money. However, the fount of goodwill has now dried to a trickle for Kate Hudson, and her latest romcom effort, A Little Bit of Heaven has gone straight to iTunes and VOD.
(Warning: Many spoilers follow in the hopes that you will be supremely deterred from ever watching this movie.)
A Little Bit of Heaven is no ordinary romcom but a “cancer comedy” that (not incidentally) happens to be wrapped up in a shiny romcom-shaped package. A Little Bit of Heaven treats its subject matter with much less respect than 50/50 or even The Heart Specialist. In a certain respect, I can generally admire various filmmakers’ efforts to put a positive spin on the matter of life and (almost) certain death, but Hudson’s latest effort makes dying from cancer seem like a marvelous, almost enviable thing. The end result is not only disrespectful but (even worse in the context of this review) makes for a very non-entertaining movie as well.
Marley Corbett (Hudson) is one of those nauseatingly whimsical types (she has a damn swing in her living room, and it ain’t a sex swing) who is gorgeous, funny, and married to her job (ad exec) but completely afraid of commitment. She’s banging a lot of booty-call guys, who she sort of likes but not really because she doesn’t think you have to fall in order to live happily ever after. Marley is such a free spirt that she rides her bicycle (complete with a cute little handlebar basket and ringer) to work even though she’s a hot, suit-wearing professional. With little to no effort, Marley expertly lands condom accounts for her firm, and she celebrates by telling her pregnant friend that she hopes her baby boy has a huge penis. Life is all happy and shit.
All of a sudden, Marley starts forming visible circles under her eyes, loses her boobs, and begins feeling like crap. So she decides to get a check up and starts hitting on her hunky doctor, Julian Goldstein (Gael Garcia Bernal — yes, his cranium is as large as ever), who is both Jewish and Mexican (and that is supposed to be funny): “You look familiar. Have we had sex?” He’s not really into her at that point, so she shamelessly flirts with the dude while he gives her a colonoscopy. Naturally, Marley finds out she has late-stage colon cancer, and this is no big deal to her at all. Despite her terminal prognosis, Marley is downright cheery during her whole ordeal. In a CGI-rendered Heaven, she has some super awesome conversations with God (Whoopi Goldberg), who tells her that she’s dying. She treats chemo (and everything else) like a joke. She gives her boss Rob (Steven Weber) a card that says, “Roses are red, violets are blue, I’ve got ass cancer, now you know too,” and he encourages her to cash in early on a insurance policy so she can be even happier by throwing money around. Most importantly in all of this, Marley never loses her fabulous hair, but she does start sleeping with her doctor because there is an unwritten rule that whenever Gael Garcia Bernal appears in an English-speaking movie, he must sleep with the leading lady (medical ethics be damned).
Marley falls in love with her doctor (probably because he has the biggest wang she’s ever seen), and we all know where this is going. Kate Hudson receives an excuse to “act” like a happy-go-lucky cancer patient while everyone around her is sad. Her character’s physical deterioration is marked only by a lack of makeup, slightly less voluminous hair, and chronic pajama wearing. Since Marley is only given literally weeks left to live, her best friends, played by Lucy Punch and Rosemarie DeWitt, don’t know how to handle her enduring perkiness, and the storyline leaves little resolution on that matter. Meanwhile, Kathy Bates does what she can as Beverly’s distraught mother and provides the only genuine emotion in the entire movie. There’s also a bizarre cameo from Peter Dinklage as a call-boy named Vinnie, but really, don’t ask.
In the end, the audience learns nothing from Marley’s plight, but she inexplicably decides that dying from cancer is the one thing that allowed her to really feel alive. How did she arrive at such a conclusion? The wise words of Whoopi Goldberg, of course. Also, the hot doctor in her bed didn’t hurt matters. A Little Bit of Heaven spits in the face of anyone who’s ever suffered from cancer in any shape or form and, for that matter, anyone who’s ever lived as well. This film is an awful, insufferable way to spend an hour and 46 minutes and isn’t even worth a rental or a TBS showing while frolicking in bed with one’s own G.I. specialist. Avoid this movie at all costs.
Agent Bedhead lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She and her little black heart can be found at Celebitchy.