Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 34
  2. Negative: 10 out of 34
  1. Marshall's predilection for romantic fairy tales is much in evidence, though the comedy registers in a lower key than it did in such hits as "Pretty Woman" and "Runaway Bride."
  2. A slick and entertaining package.
  3. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    There's an old-school innocence to Marshall's style, and it's satisfying to be whisked away from reality to this parallel universe where we find it possible to laugh amid such a fundamentally tragic scenario.
  4. The actors are all better than the material, just as the script's occasionally amusing tangents are far superior to its mundane narrative arc.
  5. Reviewed by: Joe Leydon
    An undemanding dramedy.
  6. Hudson's sunny, ringlet-tossing appeal fits snugly into the film's happy-homemaker ideology: She makes caring for three kids she barely knows look downright glamorous.
  7. 50
    As unlikely as it may sound, 2004 is the year when directors Kevin Smith and Garry Marshall have made virtually the same movie...Nevertheless, it's impossible to deny that Raising Helen is a near clone of "Jersey Girl."
  8. 50
    If a couple who belonged to the Christian Coalition, or your maiden aunt, or George and Laura Bush were looking for a reassuring night out, Raising Helen would fit the bill nicely.
  9. 50
    You can take the director out of television, but sometimes you can't take television out of the director. Although Garry Marshall has been making movies for longer than he spent creating such series as "The Odd Couple," "Happy Days" and "Laverne and Shirley," his work retains the scent of the small screen.
  10. What Raising Helen doesn't offer is a competent (never mind compelling) performance from Hudson, who is as cute as lace pants and has approximately as much acting skill.
  11. Reviewed by: Kevin Crust
    The agreeable cast led by Hudson and Cusack manage to extract a handful of laughs from the forgettable dialogue, but at nearly two hours, the film goes on far too long.
  12. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Almost nothing about Raising Helen rings very true, other than the camera's crush on Kate Hudson.
  13. Watching Garry Marshall's Raising Helen is like eating a box of Forrest Gump's chocolates. You may not know exactly what you're going to get, but you can count on a high sugar content.
  14. Doesn't press all its obvious lessons, and there are actually a few surprises -- and even a couple of moving and interesting moments -- before an all too predictable resolution.
  15. A soft-hearted, squishy-minded prototype for a network sitcom, is mildly ingratiating but never laugh-out-loud funny. Even Ms. Hudson's intrepid radiance can't camouflage the premise's leaky foundation.
  16. 50
    From beginning to end, we've been there, seen that.
  17. Far from the worst cookie-cutter film to come off the Hollywood assembly line, merely the latest.
  18. Reviewed by: Laine Ewen
    It's really rather dull, lacking in any originality or flair that might draw attention to the cause. It's lightly comedic, lightly dramatic, lightly tragic, and, therefore, lightly entertaining.
  19. 40
    John Corbett shuffles in for yet another tour of duty as the bland requisite love interest.
  20. 40
    The strange thing about Raising Helen is that nothing out of the ordinary ever really happens.
  21. 40
    Raising Helen is the kind of movie you watch on a plane while muttering “utter crap” under your breath -- and then burst into tears.
  22. Sitting through Raising Helen is an exercise in frustration, because somewhere inside this big heap of Hollywood nothing is a something (someone, actually) worth saving and savoring. Her name is Joan Cusack.
  23. Reviewed by: Angel Cohn
    The kids, especially the Breslin siblings, are cute. Cusack is underused, but makes her annoying, potpourri-loving suburban mom seem sympathetic. And Corbett is well-cast as an eminently suitable, if slightly dull, life mate for the newly grown-up Helen.
  24. Reviewed by: Liz Beardsworth
    Top marks to Joan Cusack for her excellent supporting turn; commiserations to John Corbett as one-dimensional objet désir Pastor Dan -- unhappily saddled with the most tragic line to reach mainstream film for years.
  25. 38
    By the end, this movie's balancing act is the equivalent of network news' equal-time laws. The "fairness" becomes deadening.
  26. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Works so hard to be inoffensive that you may well be offended.
  27. It's a question of tone, which jumps back and forth between airy-fairy romantic comedy and leaden family drama with the alacrity of a manic-depressive.
  28. Ms. Hudson makes the most of her role, even though that's not saying so very much -- the writing is terribly thin -- while John Corbett gives an unaccountably clumsy performance as a romantic pastor. Joan Cusack gets the funniest lines as Helen's sister, a model of boring mommyhood, but she also stops the movie dead in its tracks every time she plays a scene.
  29. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    The picture flogs a fake dichotomy between career and family for 119 minutes until Hudson digests a feeble moral that Laverne and Shirley would have covered in 25.
  30. You are likely to encounter more surprises on the way to the bathroom each morning than you do in this film.
  31. There’s nothing especially offensive about the actress (Hudson); if anything, it’s that lack of offense, her overwhelmingly benign vibe, that has become increasingly repugnant with every picture she puts out.
  32. Great premise, but the ensuing trials and tribulations - not to mention hapless attempts at comedy - are as off-key as a karaoke scene in which Hudson sounds worse than any audition Simon Cowell has ever had to sit through.
  33. Reviewed by: M. E. Russell
    This goopy dramedy is unfunny, mentally bankrupt and makes parenthood look like a terrifying death sentence.
  34. 25
    Despite Joan Cusack, whose comic spark earns the film its only star, Raising Helen is like tumbling into chick-flick hell.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 37 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 17
  2. Negative: 4 out of 17
  1. GarethC
    Dec 24, 2006
    What a load of bollocks. God, this is a very bad movie. The script is sooo cheesy! Wake up Hollywood, this C-rate attempt at film making is What a load of bollocks. God, this is a very bad movie. The script is sooo cheesy! Wake up Hollywood, this C-rate attempt at film making is in dire need of originality. Full Review »