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A LITTLE BIT OF HEAVEN

SYNOPSIS:
Marley Corbett (Kate Hudson) is young, beautiful, and wildly funny, but she's afraid of opening herself up to true love and commitment. Though she uses her humour to prevent matters from getting serious, a life-changing visit to her doctor (Gael Garcia Bernal) sends both of them on an eye-opening adventure of mutual discovery, leading to revelations neither thought possible.

Review by Louise Keller:
Peter Dinklage is the surprise package in this mash up from Nicole Kassell, in which his role of an escort with a reputation to deliver 'a little bit of heaven' brings a welcome lift and unexpected honesty to a film that crumbles under its own weight and aspirations. If you saw Kassell's 2004 powerful debut film The Woodsman about a child molester, you might be forgiven for expecting more from this hybrid that aspires to be both a weepy and an uplifting comedy with romantic elements.

In the opening scenes, we meet Marley Corbett (Hudson), an effervescent young woman who uses humour as a shield against intimacy. But the humour is awkward and contrived: like the moment Marley meets her new doctor Julian Goldstein (Bernal) in his consulting room with the opening line: 'Have we had sex?' The pre-colonoscopy scene with Ricky Gervais in 2008's Ghost Town is a riot, but not so here, when Marley's chit-chat to her handsome doctor, is anything but funny. The pseudo upbeat tone in which Marley tells her friends (in the middle of dinner) she is dying of cancer is not credible on any level.

His enigmatic screen presence aside, Bernal is badly miscast as the yo-yo loving specialist medic and I had trouble believing in the central love-relationship. I rolled my eyes when Whoopi Goldberg in the cloud-infused heaven scenes as God, greets Marley with a cheesy grin and the words: 'Guess what - you're dying!'

But the film does improve somewhat, and Kathy Bates and Treat Williams provide some heartfelt moments as Marley's parents. Lucy Punch is always good value and Romany Malco plays the neighbour who initiates the surprise visit by Dinklage's escort. No doubt about it: films about dying are tricky; especially if they aspire to fit into the Hollywood rom-com mould, when jokes, laughter and terminal illness are at odds.
Published first in the Sun-Herald

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

A LITTLE BIT OF HEAVEN (PG)
(US, 2011)

CAST: Kate Hudson, Peter Dinklage, Gael Garcia Bernal, Whoopi Goldberg, Lucy Punch, Johann Urb, Kathy Bates,

PRODUCER: John Davis, Mark Gill, Robert katz, Neil Sacker, Adam Schroeder

DIRECTOR: Nicole Kassell

SCRIPT: Gren Wells

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Russell Carpenter

EDITOR: Stephen A. Rotter

MUSIC: Heitor Pereira

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Stuart Wurtzel

RUNNING TIME: 106 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Hoyts

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 1, 2012







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