Raising Helen: Ron Batzdorff
April 21, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

Yes, it’s a Garry Marshall crowd-pleaser starring cute-as-a-button Kate Hudson (”How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”). But don’t dismiss this as your standard chick flick. ”It’s not a romantic comedy!” insists Hudson. ”There is a romance between me and John Corbett, but I don’t want to fool anybody into thinking it’s a big romantic movie. It’s really about growing up and coming to terms with what you’ve been given.”

The situation is this: Successful Manhattanite Helen Harris (Hudson) is forced to change her flouncy lifestyle when her sister dies, leaving her three kids to Helen’s care. ”It’s so rare that you get to play parts that are funny and sad,” says Hudson. ”I cried so hard at the end of the script. It was a no-brainer. I had to make this movie.”

Having Marshall on deck for the roughly $45 million project didn’t hurt either. ”I worked with Kate’s mother on ‘Overboard,”’ he recalls. ”Kate was 8 years old and running around in my way. I used to hold her in my arms and yell, ‘Let’s yell ”Action!” together for Mommy!”’

The New York-based production took an even more familial turn when Hudson got pregnant by shoot’s end. ”That’s why I think she took this movie,” confides Marshall. ”She wanted to be a mom.” Did working with kids prepare her for having one of her own? ”Yeah, but you know, nothing really prepares you for motherhood,” says Hudson, who gave birth to son Ryder on Jan. 7. ”I think the message of the film is really timely: At the end of the day, the people that you love and your family are everything.”

THE GOOD NEWS A feel-good movie with Helen Mirren and Joan Cusack lending support.

THE BAD NEWS Hudson’s last two flicks, ”Le Divorce” and ”Alex & Emma,” earned a combined $23 million at the box office.

114 minutes
Touchstone Pictures
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