CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.
Film Review: Kate Hudson Reveals Hell in ‘A Little Bit of Heaven’
CHICAGO – Kate Hudson portrays a dying woman in “A Little Bit of Heaven,” and the film is so annoying that her extinguishment can’t come fast enough. The film insults both living and dying, and virtually everything in between, and brings along Lucy Punch, Kathy Bates, Gael Garciá Bernal, Peter Dinklage and Whoopi Goldberg for the funeral.
Hudson plays an almost sociopathic character, who is suppose to become sympathetic just because she is diagnosed with colon cancer. Yes, that is the serious premise, but as filtered through the Hudson character it is merely a prop designed to make everyone else in the film love her. There are no redeeming qualities to her crass talking, self destructive nature in the story – ignored by those around her – but it is cancer that is suppose to make such a character noble. It’s impossible to imagine the inner turmoil of a real cancer struggle, but one minute of that courage is worth a million times of films like these.
Marley (Kate Hudson) is a blunt talking New Orleans ad executive, the youngest vice president in her firm. When her best Sarah (Lucy Punch) notices that her “boobs are shrinking,” Marley reluctantly visits a doctor, who diagnoses her with Stage Four colon cancer. While going through testing, she has a vision of God (Whoopi Goldberg), who gives her three wishes. The first two seem impossible, but come true, and the last comes in the form of the specialist working on her treatment, Julian Goldberg (Gael Garcia Bernal).
Marley’s condition creates unexpected situations, such as her divorced parents (Kathy Bates and Treat Williams) emerging to re-ignite old problems. But there are some lighter moments, as when a little person male escort (Peter Dinklage) is hired to show up to Marley’s apartment and “entertain” her. Also, Dr. Goldstein is falling in love with Marley, which both complicates and fulfills her treatment cycle. As the disease progresses and hope starts to fade, Marley’s third wish may be the most important of all.
Photo credit: Patti Perret for Millennium Films