A Little Bit of Heaven
Directed by Nicole Kassell. With Kate Hudson, Gael Garcia Bernal, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Whoopi Goldberg. Distributed by Millennium Entertainment. 1 hr. 46 PG-13 (sex, profanity, adult themes). Playing at: AMC Loews Cherry Hill.
It would be instructive, albeit torturous, to mount a double bill of A Little Bit of Heaven, the new cancer melodrama starring the perpetually bubbly Kate Hudson, and 50/50, last year's Joseph Gordon-Levitt cancer melodrama.
The latter, about a radio journalist diagnosed with a rare malignancy, managed to be funny, flip, poignant and even a little profound.
The problems with A Little Bit of Heaven start from the get-go, with a crane shot of a lovely New Orleans Victorian where the lovely Marley (Hudson) has come to visit her lovely best friend (Rosemarie DeWitt).
But by the time Marley - "the youngest and hottest vice president in advertising" - is told she has late-stage colon cancer, that innocuous opening seems almost forgivable. Now Marley has fallen in love with her doctor, played with a lost look and a lab coat by Gael Garcia Bernal. And he's fallen for her jokes about rectal thermometers. This is not only inadvisible, it's unethical.