Kate Hudson is like sunshine personified. She has those bouncy, gorgeous blonde curls, a goofy smile that lights up a room like a Christmas tree, and the personality and intelligence of someone who's had to cultivate it. So why, then, can she never be in a good movie? If you omit Almost Famous from her filmography, it reads like Jennifer Aniston's, only with fewer edgy choices. I find this to be a mystery greater than how to win the Angry Birds game with three stars on every level.
Any movie that fits the category of "dramedy" automatically takes a hit in the star rating department. A Little Piece of Heaven tries hard to be lots of things, but the end result is cheapened by lame choices (like bringing in Peter Dinklage as a male escort to elicit a laugh). It looks good on paper--it has likable stars like Hudson, Gael Garcia Bernal, Romany Malco, Lucy Punch and Kathy Bates. Treat Williams even makes an appearance, which normally makes me put on The Substitute and just smile and smile...but after this movie, I was so disappointed I didn't have the strength to put that DVD in the player. The basic idea is that Kate Hudson is Marley, yet another cute lady who is sassy and smart but clueless about relationships and how to "do life." She has great friends, a great wardrobe, a great dog, and a house filled with colorful curtains and throw pillows that scream "free spirit." But then she finds out she has cancer. And this movie turns into a total bummerfest that isn't sad enough to make me cry or funny enough to make me giggle.
The following is a list of things that this movie attempts to do and the films that have done it way better.
Introducing Us to God: Normally, I love seeing the big guy in the sky personified as a pop culture figure. This time, though, it's too self-referential to be funny. When Marley learns she has cancer and is transported to green-screen heaven, Whoopi Goldberg is God. But instead of letting it be an unspoken wink-wink thing, they comment on how much Marley loves Whoopi Goldberg, which is why she wants God to take her form. I have watched too much of The View to buy this reasoning. What movie does it better: Check out Morgan Freeman in Bruce Almighty or Alanis Morissette in Dogma.
Cantankerous Main Character with Cancer: This movie makes the huge mistake of taking Hudson's lame-brained, shallow character from Something Borrowed (last year's head-scratcher of a rom-com), makes her even less fun to watch, gives her a terminal disease, and fails to make her sympathetic. She snaps at her friends, is mean to men who love her, and yells at Kathy Bates. Thumbs down. People who went before their time: Emma Thompson in Wit.
White Lab Coats As an Aphrodisiac: Gael Garcia Bernal plays Goldstein, Marley's charming Jewish-Mexican doctor who cannot tell a joke to save his life. For some reason unknown to me, he falls in love with her even though she is constantly difficult and reprimands him for everything he does. His naive, adorable self deserves much better than this pain in the you-know-what. Movie that is not exactly the same, but close enough and leagues better, so give me a break: Campbell Scott and Julia Roberts in Dying Young.