June 4 - 10, 2004 • Vol. 24 - No. 23

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Raising Helen: Beware—Watching this Movie
May Raise Your Sugar Level

by The Blonde and The Maven
Film Columnists

Raising Helen is a (very) light romantic comedy brought to the screen by the notorious king of romantic comedies, and “happily ever after endings” Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride). The movie begins as Helen Harris, played by the overly adorable Kate Hudson (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Almost Famous and, as you must know if you live on the planet Earth, Goldie Hawn’s daughter), a very happy, cool, super-hip young lady who is having the time of her life living in Manhattan. Helen is working for a top modeling agency, going to fashion shows by day and playing until dawn at the hottest nightclubs. Her world as she knows it is completely shaken when Helen receives a phone call telling her that her sister and brother-in-law died in an auto accident. She later receives a letter from her sister’s lawyer informing her that she has been given custody of her sister’s three children. Helen, who admittedly knows nothing about raising children, feels that her other sister, played by Joan Cusack (In and Out, Runaway Bride) is better qualified to take care of the children. After thinking it over for just a few moments, Helen decides to take on the overwhelming task of being a new mom. She realizes that she has to change her entire life and grow up quickly. Her lifestyle comes to a screeching halt and she literally goes from super party-girl to super-mom over night. Helen surprisingly finds herself falling deeply in love with all three children, 15-year-old Audrey (Hayden Panettiere), 10-year-old Henry (Spencer Breslin), and 5-year-old Sarah (Abigail Breslin). All this change and juggling of responsibilities eventually gets our little pretty fired from her glamorous job. Her boss, Dominique, is played by Helen Mirren (Calendar Girls). Aunt Helen arranges to move her newly developed family to an apartment in Queens. Here she befriends a handsome, young, local pastor named Dan, played by the sexy yet innocent John Corbett (Sex and the City, My Big Fat Greek Wedding). Through it all, Helen comes to understand how shallow her old life was and learns what true happiness, fulfillment, and life are all about. Awww!

The Blonde: Raising Helen was like “The Brady Bunch” meets Tears of Endearment meets Wind Beneath my Wings.

The Maven:  For those of you who don’t know the blonde as well as I do, she means the movies, Terms of Endearment and Beaches.
The Blonde: Whatever! Anyway, if Kate Hudson were any cuter, I’d get nauseous. She gives new meaning to the word cute. Okay, did you know that Garry Marshall directed Kate’s mom and her stepdad (without the marriage), Kurt Russell, in the movie Overboard? Another bit of trivia: Garry also used Hector Elizondo (the used car-lot owner in this movie and the hotel manager in Pretty Woman) in all of his movies. Okay, I am finished now.

The Maven: I too thought Kate was at her sweetest in this movie. It was also a pleasure for once to see Joan Cusak being given a chance to portray a balanced, non-wacky character. However, I felt John Corbett played the same character he does in all his other movies. I wonder if he is just being himself and not acting at all, or if he is just too typecast as the sexy, soft spoken, kind, tall and lovable guy? I’d like to see John given the chance to burst out of the cocoon he has been trapped in.

The Blonde:  I wish I could cocoon with a guy who looks and acts like the character John always portrays. I felt that Lindsay, the sister who died, was absolutely right to pick Helen to raise her children. Aunt Helen is fun, gentle and relates more to her children than the rigid sister, Jenny.

The Maven: By the way, just a bit of gossip. Kate found out that she was pregnant while filming this picture. She gave birth to a baby boy and is married to Chris Robinson. Man, what is it about these beautiful actresseswho marry these plain musicians. For example, Liv Tyler married Royston Langdon, Pamela Anderson married Tommy Lee, and Julia Roberts married Lyle Lovitt.
The Blonde: Yeah, and Anna Nicole Smith married that 91-year-old man.

The Maven: He wasn’t a musician!

The Blonde:  Oh, never mind. But, speaking of Anna Nicole, doesn’t she look great after loosing all that weight?

The Maven: We weren’t speaking about her at all. Back to the movie. There were times when I felt that Raising Helen was paced too slowly and dragged. There is a part of me, however, that thinks Garry Marshall directed it that way on purpose. It appeared he realized that the camera loves Kate so much with all her expressions and her wonderful smile that he might have wanted the viewers to have the time to just absorb her on-screen magic.

The Blonde: I think you’re right. Every once in a while, an actor comes along with such charisma all their own and lights up the screen. Kate does have “it”. I have “it” too, so I can recognize it.

The Maven: Uh-huh? Okay! On that note, I rate “it” a sweet C. You won’t need any candy.

The Blonde: I rate Raising Helen a C as well, but disagree about the candy advice. You just need extra salt on your popcorn to balance out all the sweetness you’ll get watching Kate.


The Day After Tomorrow:
What a Cold Day it Was

The Day After Tomorrow is an action-packed adventure, a science fiction thriller. The film pulls you in, captivates you and grabs your attention from the moment it starts. It all begins with a long mumbo-jumbo scientific explanation of how the world basically is going to come to an end. What it all boils down to is if the greenhouse effect and global warming continue at such levels as they are now, there will be worldwide catastrophe and disaster. These devastations will include hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tidal waves, floods and the beginning of the next ice age. Sounds like fun, ay? Climatologist Jack Hall, played by Dennis Quaid (The Alamo, Far From Heaven) is the first to diagnose that global warming has triggered a rapid and ruinous shift in the planet’s climate. Although he pleaded with the government officials that this had become an emergency situation and to evacuate the whole northern states, he was ignored. Quaid’s character also goes through his own trials and tribulations to keep the story even more interesting, including the rescue of his son Sam, played by Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko, The Good Girl) who was (unfortunately for him) in New York City for a scholarship competition when all the trouble begins. All in all, The Day After Tomorrow is a fun ride and a true summer special-affects movie.

The Blonde: This movie was like Independence Day meets Armageddon meets Earthquake and Deep Impact. I went to see The Day After Tomorrow, already expecting to hate it. I felt it would be totally cliché and a theme that has been over done one too many times. That’s why I love the movies, folks, you never really know for sure. I loved every disastrous scene and enjoyed myself thoroughly. Let me begin by informing y’all that I had a horrible day before I went to see this film. First of all, I broke two nails. Yes, I said two. If that wasn’t bad enough, my standing facial appointment was cancelled on me, and I poked my eye with my mascara wand. Then, I lost my gold necklace and I dropped my cell phone and broke it. Okay! Therefore, I was ripe and in the mood for the rest of the world to come to an end too…. Perfect day to see The Day After Tomorrow.  Hey Maven, that kid from Spider-Man, who played the professor’s son, seems to be in everything now. You know! What’s his name?

The Maven: I think you’re referring to Toby Maguire of Spider-Man. Sam in this movie is a completely different person who was not in Spider-Man.

The Blonde: Oh yeah, he was!

The Maven: Oh no, he wasn’t. But Kirsten Dunst and Jake Gyllenhaal are dating and she is Spider-Man’s girlfriend in both Spider-Man 1 and 2.
The Blonde: Never mind…my bad! Proceed.

The Maven:  Moving right along. One thing I really liked about the film was its originality. They didn’t copy all the other disaster movies. It had realistic expectations to what would actually happen if that situation occurred. No miracle scenarios to save the day!
The Blonde: I first realized the plot of the movie was getting reality serious when the devastation all started in China, which meant the end to Chinese food on Sundays as we’ve come to know it. Can you imagine a world with no more Lo-mein or Wonton soup, or even extra, extra pork-fried rice? Scary! By the way, speaking of Meg Ryan…

The Maven: We were? 

The Blonde: I don’t see her with Dennis Quaid. I’m glad she split. I like her much better with Tom Hanks. They should get back together.
The Maven: She was never with Tom Hanks. She only acted with him in three movies, like Sleepless in Seattle, for one! Tom is married to Rita Wilson.

The Blonde: Oh yeah! Meg was so with Tom!

TheMaven: No she wasn’t!
The Blonde: Oh yeah, you’re right.  She was with Billy Crystal.

The Maven: No!  That was When Harry Met Sally.
The Blonde: Who can keep up? Anyway, back to Quaid. It was ironic that despite all of the professor’s warnings, our politicians didn't listen. Even in the movies!  I also loved that there was no real hero saving the world. It gave an unrealistic theme some validity. I also thought that there was a lot of poetic justice when Americans fled in droves, illegally crossing the Mexican border for refuge and safety. What an interesting political twist. And there are a few morals to this exciting movie. One is that we are destroying Earth. So moviegoers, do throw your used Starbucks cups in the garbage. The other moral is, life is too short to take for granted. Therefore, buy now. Collect jewelry, go to the malls regularly and buy clothes and shoes, travel more, go to restaurants and movies all the time. Eat bon bons. Stop wasting valuable time in the gym. Party now. Don’t waist another second. Life rushes by ever so quickly. Forget about the boring stuff, have fun before it’s too late. I think that was what director, Roland Emmmerich (Independence Day) was trying to get across to the audience.

The Maven: Gee, I was thinking more along the lines of running out to buy fire-wood, thermal underwear, down jackets, boots, and food rations, okay maybe some Twinkies, too.

The Blonde: That stuff never entered my mind, not for a minute.

The Maven: This from the girl who ran out to get gas masks and duct tape after September 11.

The Blonde: Oh, I actually thought it was duck tape I was buying.

The Maven: Environmentalists all over the world will like this movie and the messages that it brings. And I thought the special effects of all the disaster scenes were amazing. I enjoyed this film. It kept me on the edge of my seat and at no time was I ever bored. I rate this film a B.

The Blonde: I liked this movie very much. It was good ‘ole movie time fun. I suggest non-stop fist full bites of popcorn, several chocolate candy choices, and real soda. The morals of the film taught us to throw away the diets. I rate The Day after Tomorrow a proud B. Go and have some fun.

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