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A Little Bit of Heaven(2011)
A guarded woman finds out she's dying of cancer, but when she meets her match, the threat of falling in love is scarier than death.
For more about A Little Bit of Heaven and the A Little Bit of Heaven Blu-ray release, see A Little Bit of Heaven Blu-ray Review published by Brian Orndorf on November 11, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Kate Hudson, Lucy Punch, Whoopi Goldberg, Kathy Bates, Gael García Bernal, Romany Malco
Director: Nicole Kassell
» See full cast & crew
A Little Bit of Heaven Blu-ray Review
The feel-good cancer comedy of the year.
Reviewed by Brian Orndorf, November 11, 2012
Kate Hudson has become the poster girl for particularly lazy romantic comedies, spending nearly her entire career in the genre with efforts such as "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days," "Something Borrowed," and "Alex & Emma." "A Little Bit of Heaven" is her most grotesque production to date, merging googly eyes with colon cancer in a stunningly tasteless picture that's made up entirely of cheap sentiment and wretched direction. Turning on her high beams of charm, Hudson tap dances madly through this movie, trying to remain as effervescent as possible with a script that does a great disservice to the trials of cancer and the game of love.
Marley Corbett (Kate Hudson) is a freewheeling advertising executive who wants to keep her romantic life simple, preferring a string of lovers to a fulfilling relationship. When abdominal pains grow intolerable, Marley seeks diagnosis from Dr. Goldstein (Gael Garcia Bernal), a handsome but humorless medical professional who takes a liking to his charismatic patient. Hit with the news that she has late-stage colon cancer, Marley attempts to keep her life in order, dealing with friends (including Lucy Punch, Romany Malco, and Rosemarie DeWitt) and her warring parents (Kathy Bates and Treat Williams) to the best of her ability while she undergoes chemo and experimental treatments. In a morphine dream, Marley meets Whoopi Goldberg in Heaven, who grants her three wishes. When the dying woman realizes her wishes are coming true in real life, she decides to pursue love for the first time, romancing Dr. Goldstein as the cancer ravages her body.
I understand the plot of "A Little Bit of Heaven" sounds like a joke, a goofy make-em-up from somebody out to poke fun at Hudson's unadventurous career choices. I assure you the movie is very real, scripted by Gren Wells and directed by Nicole Kassell, who many years ago crafted the challenging pedophile drama, "The Woodsman." Obviously, it's difficult to ascertain the intent of such an effort; if I had to guess, the feature appears genuinely interested in deconstructing an emotionally aloof person at their greatest time of community need, employing cancer as a wild swing of fate to solidify the emotional stakes, therefore accelerating the romantic elements. However, this is no ordinary tearjerker, but a tone-deaf celebration of rom-com clichés, shamelessly executed by the production in a chilling manner reminiscent of a 105-minute-long practical joke.
"A Little Bit of Heaven" contains a cameo by Whoopi Goldberg as God; it provides numerous montages, including one where Marley and the gang blow her life insurance money on a department store shopping spree, dancing mirthfully around high-end dresses and shoes; there's a crude ADR line wedged into the film that hastily explains why Marley hasn't lost her hair after undergoing cancer treatments; and the title doesn't come from the lead character's ethereal dreams, but her encounter with a little person male prostitute (played by Peter Dinklage), who promises Marley the titular treatment. There are also numerous fringe distractions in place, with gay best friends, overbearing mothers, and severe daddy issues, placing Marley in an ideal Lifetime Movie position of poetic death, leaving behind a lovable bulldog and a handsome doctor, who openly engages in a wholly inappropriate relationship with someone in his care.
In the middle of this outrageously miscalculated film is Hudson, looking fresh as a daisy, with some mild darkening make-up applied under her eyes to convey her life-threatening, energy-sapping battle with colon cancer. "A Little Bit of Heaven" is meant to be on the light side, avoiding sweatbox hospital bed battles with extreme pain and whispered final wishes. Kassell keeps the feature a fantasyland, which seems disrespectful to those actually facing cancer treatments. The insensitivity of the production is mind-blowing at times, with this road to the afterlife paved with sexually interested doctors, complete closure with loved ones, and model good looks, even when it's time to meet the maker.
"A Little Bit of Heaven" almost plays like a parody of a typical Kate Hudson movie, but it's very real, sincere with all of its displays of golden personal interactions and teary resolutions. It's a vulgar picture that means well, hoping to subvert the romantic comedy norm by adding a sense of finality to enduring love. Unfortunately, the feature ends up a fetid heap of thoughtlessness, further sinking Hudson's once beguiling screen appeal.
A Little Bit of Heaven Blu-ray, Video Quality
The AVC encoded image (2.35:1 aspect ratio) presentation carries a compelling warmth to fit the odd romantic comedy mood. The color palette showcases a bright read of interiors, with Marley's home paint job a particularly blinding resource of primaries, while medical offices display a more professional sense of blues and grays. Costuming is also vivid, finding doctor outfits and scrubs providing a solid light blue pop. Skintones, which actually play an important role in the picture, are accurate, retaining their human pinkness and eventual slide into the bloodlessness of illness. Shadow detail is acceptable, with a few low-light and evening encounters showing signs of crush. The image is generally sharp and quite appealing, good with fine detail on puzzled facial expressions and Hudson's trademarked smile. Some softness creeps into view on occasion, but it's nothing distracting, with the majority of the viewing experience holding to an agreeable golden glow.
A Little Bit of Heaven Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The 5.1 Dolby TrueHD sound mix is generally appropriate for this type of mild entertainment. Emphasizing emotional moods and heated dialogue exchanges, the track keeps to a frontal hold with strong verbal emphasis, keeping voices deep and clean with accurate placement. Group activity is also acceptably pronounced, finding throwaway jokes buried in the mix easily understood. Soundtrack selections bring a low-end feel to the movie, with a comfortable bass presence and crisp instrumentation, with an early club performance sounding fresh and inviting. Surrounds are subtle but atmospherics are detected, adding to a slight but comfortably immersive hold of the mix. It doesn't offer firepower, but for the modest goals of the movie, its sets the mood with ease.
A Little Bit of Heaven Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
A Little Bit of Heaven Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
A romantic comedy about cancer. I've officially seen it all.
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