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"RAISING HELEN"
(2004) (Kate Hudson, John Corbett) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Minor Moderate None None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None None None Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Moderate *Heavy Moderate Minor


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: A single woman finds her carefree lifestyle upended when she gains custody of her late sister's three kids.
PLOT:
Helen Harris (KATE HUDSON) is at the top of her game. Not only does she enjoy a carefree social lifestyle, but she also has a great job working as the personal assistant to Dominique (HELEN MIRREN) at the latter's top Manhattan modeling agency.

Yet, her life is completely upended when her sister Lindsay (FELICITY HUFFMAN) and her husband Paul (SEAN O'BRYAN) are killed in a car accident. Helen is also shocked to learn that Lindsay's will dictated that the couple's three kids -- 15-year-old Audrey (HAYDEN PANETTIERE), 10-year-old Henry (SPENCER BRESLIN) and 5-year-old Sarah (ABIGAIL BRESLIN) -- go to her and not her other sister Jenny Portman (JOAN CUSACK) and her husband Ed (KEVIN KILNER), especially since they're already parents.

Nevertheless and despite knowing little about what to do, Helen sets out to raise them. The pressures of doing so, however, eventually cause her to move from Manhattan to Queens and put a strain on her work and relationship with Jenny. As her life completely changes and she becomes involved with Pastor Dan Parker (JOHN CORBETT) at the kids' new school, Helen must decide whether she wants to live this new life or return to her old one.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of anyone in the cast, they might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For thematic issues involving teens.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • KATE HUDSON plays a carefree, single woman who enjoys her work and nightlife, but finds both disrupted when she gets custody of her late sister's three kids. She then tries to figure out how to raise them, whether she wants to, and how she feels about Pastor Dan. She briefly fools around with him (and earlier another guy), smokes and drinks some.
  • JOAN CUSACK plays her sister, a married and pregnant mother who can't understand why their sister dictated that Helen be the kids' new mother. She has a bad attitude and criticizes her, but eventually comes around to helping her.
  • JOHN CORBETT plays the laidback Lutheran minister who runs the school that the kids now attend. He also takes a liking to Helen and tries to help her through her parenting issues. He briefly uses profanity.
  • HAYDEN PANETTIERE plays Helen's 15-year-old niece who doesn't like her aunt's sudden change in demeanor toward her rebellious teenage behavior.
  • SPENCER BRESLIN plays her 10-year-old brother who withdraws from activities due to guilt about being alive while his parents are not. He briefly uses some profanity.
  • ABIGAIL BRESLIN plays their 5-year-old sister who misses her parents and wonders who will replace their daily activities with her.
  • HELEN MIRREN plays Helen's model agency boss who doesn't like Helen not being able to given her one-hundred percent at the job anymore.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this comedy/drama that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of at least 1 "s" word, while a handful of other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Some non-explicit, but sexually related dialogue is present, as is some suggested fooling around and/or off-screen sex. Both men and women (in person or photos) are occasionally seen in revealing attire.

    Three kids (under the age of 15) lose their parents in a car accident and are uprooted from their home and school to live with their aunt. Beyond a few related scenes, however, little of that's portrayed in a realistic fashion. Other tense family material is present and several characters have bad attitudes toward others.

    Some characters smoke and/or drink, with the latter including some teenagers. Other imitative behavior is present, as is some brief crude humor.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    A G-rated cartoon, "Lorenzo," may or may not precede the main film when you see it. In this dark comedy, a cartoon cat must tangle with its "possessed" (by another cat) tail, which forces the cat to dance with it, etc. The cat then tries various methods to rid itself of its own, attached tail.

    During that, the tail forces the cat through some glass; the cat tapes the tail to the wall; the cat slams a door onto it but the door then falls onto the cat; and the cat ties the tail to some train tracks. The train misses the tail, but another hits the cat and we see some goo splatter onto and drip from a railroad sign. The cat then tries to shock the tail with electricity but obviously shocks itself; and finally tries to take a knife to the tail that then stabs that knife through a closed door at the cat.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Miscellaneous people have champagne.
  • Miscellaneous people have drinks in a club.
  • Miscellaneous people have drinks.
  • People have wine at a wake.
  • Some teenagers drink alcohol at a party.
  • Helen, Jenny (who's pregnant) and her husband have wine in front of them.
  • Helen has wine.
  • Henry jokingly states that he'll have a Singapore Sling drink at a restaurant. We then see that a male model has sent a drink over to Helen and has one for himself.
  • A guy states that the punch at the school prom is spiked with vodka.
  • Dan brings champagne over to Helen's place.
  • Some miscellaneous people drink.
  • Jenny's husband has a beer.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Little Sarah wonders who will check her "nose boogies" now that her parents are gone.
  • Sarah matter-of-factly asks Dominique if her "nose boogies" look green.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Before her parents' unexpected deaths, Audrey shows Helen the fake ID she has (and Helen has no problem with that).
  • Not realizing he made a joke about required blood tests, Helen lies to Pastor Dan about the kids being hemophiliacs (played for comedy).
  • After discovering that Henry's turtle has died, she and Pastor Dan conspire to get a replacement one and not tell Henry (to avoid any more grief on his part).
  • Audrey has a secret party at Helen's place and then the young people who are attending won't leave when Helen tells them to do so.
  • Jenny occasionally has a bad attitude regarding Helen being chosen to be the kids' new parent and/or the way she's handling that, but she does help her sister when needed.
  • A stilts walker working at a car dealership tries to look down a woman's top at her cleavage.
  • A guy states that the punch at the school prom is spiked with vodka.
  • Helen learns that Audrey broke her rules about seeing a guy and left the school prom with him to go to a motel. She then learns that Audrey also took her credit card.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • None.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "We're in deep sh*t," "Bloke," "Dance club tramp," "Shut up," "Punks," "You got a phat crib" (nice place), "Holy cow," "You're a smug, bitter, colossal bitch" (what Helen says about Jenny), "Freaky," "You're so going to hell," "Rip 'em a new one," "Chill out," "Your sorry ass" and "Freaked."
  • Helen wears a short skirt that has a high slit up the back of it.
  • Before her parents' unexpected deaths, Audrey shows Helen the fake ID she has (and Helen has no problem with that).
  • Helen and the other kids react to the smell of Henry's feet as she tries to stick them near their noses.
  • Helen and Audrey separately wear midriff-revealing tops in several scenes, while some miscellaneous teenagers also wear midriff-revealing tops.
  • Audrey has a secret party at Helen's place and then the young people who are attending won't leave when Helen tells them to do so.
  • Helen's neighbor chases various young people from an unwanted party by swinging around a baseball bat.
  • Henry comments on helping someone spray paint graffiti (but may be joking).
  • A stilts walker working at a car dealership tries to look down a woman's top at her cleavage.
  • A guy states that the punch at the school prom is spiked with vodka.
  • Helen learns that Audrey broke her rules about seeing a guy and left the school prom with him to go to a motel. She then learns that Audrey also took her credit card.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 "s" word, 3 asses, 1 damn, 1 hell and 1 use each of "Good Lord," "Oh God" and "Oh my God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Helen wears a short skirt that has a high slit up the back of it.
  • We see some adult male models in just small shorts.
  • When asked to model in the agency where Helen works, the bottled water delivery guy says that he doesn't do naked anymore.
  • When seeing Helen in a very small dress (short on top and bottom), Paul (her brother-in-law) jokingly makes excited horse sounds.
  • Helen makes out with a male model as they return to her place. She then jokingly tells him to keep it down since she has neighbors. She then asks what he's wearing, says that she's going to take them off and then discovers that he's wrapped in bubble wrap (he says it was done to make him look more buff). She then begins to playfully pop the plastic bubbles and closes her door (implying more fooling around and/or sex).
  • The camera briefly focuses on a woman's short skirt as she passes by.
  • We see some models in lingerie (that show some cleavage) at a runway show.
  • A poster on a wall (in the background of a shot) shows the lower half of a woman in a very small bikini bottom or panties.
  • Henry comments on Audrey talking dirty on the Internet (but may be joking).
  • After Helen nervously states that she made Pastor Dan abandon his vows, he states that he can get married, have kids and watch dirty movies. He then adds that he was joking about that last part.
  • A stilts walker working at a car dealership tries to look down a woman's top at her cleavage.
  • Pastor Dan says that there are "freaky" women who are "turned on" by him being a pastor. He then jokingly tells Helen that he's a "sexy man of God" and the two passionately kiss in the hallway outside her door (they stop when the kids and neighbor open the door to see what's going on).
  • Pastor Dan reports that Audrey was caught making out in the balcony at church.
  • Jenny bursts in on Audrey and a guy in a motel room. He's either finishing getting dressed or starting to undress, while Audrey is seated on the floor in her prom dress (thus we don't know if anything sexual happened). Jenny then points to her own pregnant belly and asks them, "Are you ready for this?"
  • SMOKING
  • Helen smokes around 5 times, Audrey smokes once and a few miscellaneous people smoke.
  • Helen states that the only thing she hasn't lost is her nicotine fits.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Helen, Jenny, and Lindsay and Paul's three kids must deal with their parents' unexpected deaths and are uprooted to a new home and school. Beyond a few initial and then subsequent scenes, however, the level of grief portrayed is not always or entirely realistic (as this is otherwise a mostly light-hearted "dramedy").
  • Helen discovers the three kids sitting in their parents' closet, with Sarah saying that it smells like her mommy in there.
  • Helen and Jenny argue over their late sister's decision that Helen raise the kids.
  • Sarah gets upset about tying her shoe laces because her mom was teaching her that when she died.
  • We hear that the sisters' mother died when Helen was just 7, leaving Jenny to raise her.
  • Helen learns that Henry is holding back from having fun or participating in life for fear of rubbing it in toward his dead parents saying that they're not there to be able to do the same (she convinces him he wouldn't be doing that and that it's okay to live one's life).
  • Some tense mother/daughter moments occur between Helen and Audrey regarding her seeing a guy that Helen doesn't like and Audrey having a fake ID (prompting Audrey to tell her, "I hate you").
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Dealing with family deaths.
  • Helen learns that Henry is holding back from having fun or participating in life for fear of rubbing it in toward his dead parents saying that they're not there to be able to do the same (she convinces him he wouldn't be doing that and that it's okay to live one's life).
  • Teenage rebellion.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Audrey pushes Henry.
  • There's a blatant, physical foul in a basketball game, while a check in a later hockey match sends a player to the ice.
  • Helen trips and falls to the floor in an unintended pratfall fashion.



  • Reviewed April 26, 2004 / Posted May 28, 2004

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