Picking up where the feature film of the same title leaves off, comedy follows a young Manhattanite as she struggles to balance her new hard-won job at a modeling agency with raising her recently orphaned nephew and nieces.
This soft-hearted, squishy-minded prototype for a network sitcom is mildly ingratiating but never laugh-out-loud funny. Kate Hudson is the scuffling gal Friday and Little Ms. Fixit to the queenly chief of a New York fashion agency. On the fast track to A-list Manhattan insufferability, she lives out a dreamy, sanitized version of the "Sex and the City" lifestyle, partying all night, then skipping into the office all a-bubble with nifty little notions that anticipate her boss's every whim. Her life of fun, fun, fun comes to a screeching halt when her older sister and her husband are killed in a car crash, and the will gives Helen custody of three orphaned children. The rest of the movie tells the warm and fuzzy story of Helen's bumbling surrogate parenthood to the brood she inherits, and her discovery of family values and true romance in an outer borough. The movie pretends to address the practical issues of single parenthood in New York but is far too skittish to do more than bring up a problem or two, then solve it with a magical sitcom-ready wave of its wand. — Stephen Holden
2004-05-28 | Stephen Holden | Read the New York Times Review of Raising Helen