Helen Harris (Kate Hudson) has a great career and a wonderful social life. By day she works at a top Manhattan modelling agency and by night she goes clubbing in the city’s top nightclubs where she has to beat the men away with a stick! Life is great but when Helen’s sister and brother-in-law are killed in an accident her life changes dramatically. Three young children have been left orphaned and Helen learns that she has custody of her young nieces and nephew. She might have been the ‘cool’ aunt but being Mom is a different story. Helen struggles in her new role and learns that late night partying doesn’t help when you have to do the school run in the morning…
This comedy has been criticised for having a “sitcom” feel to it and with a predictable story and clichéd ideas the criticism is somewhat justified. It’s obvious from the start where the story is going and there aren’t any revelations on the way. With pleasant, soft-hearted, characters and sweet kids, things get a little corny and the movie often looks for ways to pull on the heartstrings. Unfortunately, it comes across as contrived and shallow as copious amounts of ‘sweetness’ and ‘cuteness’ are dished out.
Helen struggles with parenthood and there are plenty of mishaps, fights and tears as she tries to adjust to new demands and expectations from her newly acquired family. It’s hard to balance, work, kids and socialising! Kate Hudson does add a little charm to the proceedings in the role of Helen.
Dan (John Corbett), a local pastor, lends a helping hand and another sister Jenny (Joan Cusack) is also around to offer advice if not much assistance.
Bottom Line: Pleasant but shallow, light-hearted comedy. If you enjoy Raising Helen you might also like Cheaper By The Dozen, The Family Man, Freaky Friday, 13 Going On 30.