A Little Bit of Heaven is intended to be a heart-tugging film about what's really important in one's life when given a medical prognosis of probable death. Unfortunately, this movie, which is also supposed to be about romance – and funny – misses the boat on all elements.
Kate Hudson, Gael Garcia Bernal
Scruffy Marley Corbett (Kate Hudson) works for an advertising firm in New Orleans. When informed she has colon cancer and her time left is short, Marley shows little signs that she gets it. While many might react the same way – resorting to humor and making jokes – Hudson fails to instill enough of the bounce of typical reactions in her character’s situation.
After Marley falls for her doctor, Julian (Gael Garcia Bernal), the plot gets even more convoluted. The two actors display zero chemistry throughout the entire film, which in both a romantic and hand-holding scenario appears like a time bomb waiting to explode. In this movie, it happens rather quickly and viewers are left with clear indications of what's ahead but no empathy for either character. Personally, I couldn’t help questioning the behavior of Julian – a doctor sleeping with his patient.
It seems first- time screenwriter Gren Wells, an actress in three previous films, delivered a script that's like Swiss cheese – full of plot holes. Probably the most laughable sub-plot involves trips to heaven where Marley talks with God, played by none other than Whoopi Goldberg. And just like a good Jeanie in the bottle – God grants her three wishes. Director Nicole Kassell, who has directed a host of television shows, adds little to keep this sappy story unpredictable, interesting and real.
Hudson can be great at humor and in-depth stories, as she proved in Almost Famous, but this wacky script doesn't measure up to her talents. It's the same for Bernal, who has won awards for his roles in such solid movies as The Motorcycle Diaries (2004), Amores Perros (2000) and Babel (2006). He's wasted here.
Veteran actress Kathy Bates plays Marley's tearful mother, and Peter Dinklage (Death at a Funeral) gets real laughs for his role as Vinnie, a male gigolo hired by Marley's neighbor to brighten up her night. Still, I fear most moviegoers would have a brighter night by skipping A Little Bit of Heaven.
Kate Hudson, Peter Dinklage
Photo Credits: Millenium Entertainment