A Little Bit of Heaven DI
2011 Running time: 108 Certificate: 12 Not yet rated
KA A Little Bit Of Heaven

Synopsis

Kate Hudson is the confirmed bachelorette whose outlook on love and commitment changes drastically when she gets some very bad news - from a very dishy doctor (Gael Garcia Bernal). Taking lightly humorous steps to address a serious matter, this whimsical look at romance and other relationships aims to show that life is sweet but far too short for selfishness.

Director

  • Nicole Kassell

Cast

  • Kate Hudson

  • Gael García Bernal

  • Whoopi Goldberg

  • Lucy Punch

  • Kathy Bates

Review

After making a surprise detour into good movie territory via The Killer Inside Me, Kate Hudson hops straight back on the rubbish wagon for another avoidable non-com that could have gone by the same title.

Actually, given that heaven is an eternity, the people responsible for this painfully protracted mix of doomed love and mild toilet humour aren't totally mis-selling it.

In stock Hudson fashion, Marley is a sassy, affluent singleton surrounded whose nearest and dearest are equally off-the-rack: klutzy best friend, gay neighbour, smugly married couple, nagging mother (Kathy Bates), and distant father who you can assume won't be as distant come the end (Treat Williams).

As an advertising exec, Marley's cheerfully scatological approach to selling condoms and coffee comes in handy when she has to tell everyone that she has cancer of the colon.

Luckily she also has the dashing Dr Goldstein (an uncomfortable-looking Bernal) to ease her pain with his inability to tell jokes and unusual willingness to break the Hippocratic oath.

And for spiritual support she has God, who appears to her as Whoopi Goldberg and grants her three wishes before her time's up.

Marley wants to fly. And though she clearly doesn't need it, she wants money. But what more could she want? What do you think, unattached, understanding, and hilariously Mexican-Jewish Dr Goldstein?

Blending romance, comedy and terminal disease is never easy. See The Bucket List for details. But with the right script and a light touch, the results can be life-affirming. Oscar-winning, even. Look at Terms Of Endearment.

But for all its attempts at bawdiness and bravery, A Little Bit Of Heaven only ever presents with multiplex-palatable symptoms: no make-up, hazily sunlit bedrooms and gardens, dialogue that begins "Do you remember that time when..."

As a city bouncing back from devastation, New Orleans makes a perfect metaphorical setting. But its jazz and drag clubs add no more colour than other pointless diversions like Dr Goldstein's yoyos, Marley's mutt, or the dwarf escort played by Peter Dinklage.

You'd expect more grit from a director whose last film (The Woodsman) was designed to make us feel sympathy for a paedophile.

But by compounding toothlessness with so much unnecessary padding, Nicole Kassell merely provokes an uncharitable wish for Marley's time to come faster.

Which probably makes it a little bit of hell.