A Little Bit Of Heaven

* Directed by Nicole Kassell
* Written by Gren Wells
* Running Time: 1 hour 48 Minutes
* Rated: PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned)
* Starring: Kate Hudson, Gael García Bernal, Lucy Punch, Kathy Bates, Treat Williams, Romany Malco, Rosemarie DeWitt, Whoopi Goldberg, Steven Weber and Peter Dinklage.

A Little Bit of Heaven, a cringe-inducing romantic comedy turned cancer tragedy turned inspirational hosanna about living in the moment, embracing your bliss and other clichés.

Kate Hudson stars as Marley Corbett, an advertising whiz and self-described slut who lives in New Orleans, where the sun
doesn’t just shine but also bathes her in
radiant, honeyed light. Life is just one long
and lovely feminine hygiene commercial: She has a cool apartment in the French Quarter; a slobbering dog named Stanley, and the modern miss’s equivalent of the faithful companion, a gay black friend, Peter (Romany Malco), a Chingachgook for the age of Bravo TV. On backup there’s the married mom friend, Renee (Rosemarie DeWitt), and a kooky singleton, Sarah (Lucy Punch). Marley also has a hookup book that she regularly dips into for recreational sex. As she explains in the voice-over: “The whole matrimonial, maternal fairy tale” isn’t for her.

As any student of the contemporary romantic comedy knows, this is a lie, which becomes evident as soon as Marley, in what may be the worst “meet cute” in the history of the genre, greets the doctor administering her colonoscopy. Even better (or worse), the probing doctor, Julian Goldstein, is played by Gael García Bernal, whose ability to keep a straight face is the only evidence here of his talent. Definitely worse is the vision of God (Whoopi Goldberg) that Marley has during her colonoscopy, a hallucination that shifts a comically challenged movie into tonally unsteady territory that becomes straight-up unbearable when she learns she has cancer. From all her smiles, it’s the best thing to happen to Marley since blond tips, or so this witless movie would have you believe.

(Credit: MANOHLA DARGIS- movieNYtimes)