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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

A Little Bit of Heaven (review)

A Little Bit of Heaven Gael Garcia Bernal Kate Hudson

Death Is Beautiful

I had no idea colon cancer was so much fun! You get to lose weight… without even trying! You get to giggle your way through your first exam with your doctor: mostly cuz you’re ticklish, but also, he’s just really really cute, with a foreign accent and everything! Then you can flirt with him before your colonoscopy. Then, while you’re under anesthesia, you get have an awesome near-death experience and go to heaven — just for a visit! — where God is Whoopi Goldberg and she gives you three wishes, just like a fairy godmother or a kindly wizard. Then, back on Earth, you win radio-station contests and get amazing insurance payouts — even before you die! — that lets you give your friends way-cool shopping sprees, and you supposedly look like hell, what with getting the cancer and everything, but you actually look great, and you figure out what life is all about. Oh, and here’s the best part: the cute foreign doctor falls in love with you!
It is so fantastic to be dying! Call it the Ass Cancer Life Plan. Every modern girl needs it. Especially the modern girls like Kate Hudson’s (The Killer Inside Me, Nine) Marley Corbett — Marley! what a great modern-girl name! — who knows all about condoms and how to use them but doesn’t know how to commit. Doesn’t she know that that’s like, literally, a fatal flaw in women? Tee-hee! Whoopi God-berg (For Colored Girls, Toy Story 3) sets her straight, sort of, though Marley doesn’t realize it at first. See, cuz Marley — who is definitely, absolutely, 100-percent dying, not even Whoopi God-berg can give her a reprieve — simply doesn’t know what to ask for with that third wish. “I don’t know what I want,” Marley laments to Whoopi. “You know,” Whoopi replies wisely, “you just don’t want to admit it.”

Tee-hee! It’s so true! Of course Marley really wants to fall in love and settle down with one man, instead of the parade of gorgeous studs she beds for fun. That’s what every woman wants! And she gets the beautiful Gael Garcia Bernal (Letters to Juliet, Blindness) to commit to — if only for a little while! That’s funny cuz he’s her doctor and he’s called Julian Goldstein, and everyone knows Puerto Rican guys or whatever he is can’t be Jewish.

Every girl should wish to be dying, because Marley’s life is so perfect! She lives in New Orleans — in the nice part that never got drownded in Katrina, naturally — which is just the kookiest-nice place ever. She has a fabulous gay black friend (Romany Malco: The Love Guru, Baby Mama), who puts the swish-swish-sizzle back in Magic Negro, and also gets to make a new fabulous dwarf lothario friend (Peter Dinklage: Death at a Funeral, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian), who might be the first Magic Midget! She forgets to cook the noodles when she makes dinner for her friends, and they still love her and don’t think she’s a total ditz! But women like Marley can get away with that kind of thing, because they’re perfect even when the movie is trying to tell us they’re not perfect. It’s almost like these movies don’t really understand what they’re saying. I mean, after seeing A Little Bit of Heaven, I want to find out how I can get ass cancer so I can meet a cute doctor who will love me forever and ever and pine after me after I die so prettily and without ever having had to spend hours on the phone yelling at my insurance company for denying coverage of an ass-cancer test or treatment or whatever.

The movies always make life look so great. Even when you’re dying of a terrible disease. It’s like they’re trying to convince us of something that we don’t already believe. But the movies wouldn’t do that, would they?


US/Canada release date: May 4 2012 (VOD Apr 3 2012) | UK release date: Feb 4 2011

MPAA: rated PG-13 for sexual content, including crude references, and language
BBFC: rated 12A (contains one use of strong language and moderate sex references)

viewed at a public multiplex screening

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes
  • Martha Kuhn

    I just put this on my Netflix list after seeing the trailer on my Bernie DVD. Then I came here to read the review. Ruh-roh! LOL! I think I’ll still watch it just…well…why do people love to watch train wrecks again? Yeah, that instinct.

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