Helen Harris (Kate Hudson) works at a Manhattan modeling agency where her boss, Dominique (Helen Mirren), knows that this ambitious young woman has an eye for talent and will eventually become a successful agent with her own stable of clients. Living in the fast lane agrees with her, and she is a wonder to her two sisters who each have their own families. However, when her elder sister dies in an automobile crash with her husband, everyone is surprised to learn that she has specified that Helen should have custody of her three children. The most taken aback person is the other sister, Jenny (Joan Cusack), who is a supermom with two children and a third on the way. She thinks Helen is a very self-absorbed person and totally unprepared for the responsibility of raising three children.
With remarkable good spirits and a can-do attitude, Helen takes teenager Audrey (Hayden Panettiere), sarcastic Henry (Spencer Breslin), and Sarah (Abigail Breslin) under her wings. She loses her job after she takes the kids to a fashion show and Sarah climbs up on the walkway and causes a commotion. Realizing that she cannot afford to stay in Manhattan, Helen moves the family into an apartment in Queens. With great good fortune, Helen finds a private school run by Don Parker (John Corbett), a congenial Lutheran minister who immediately takes a fancy to this bright-eyed woman with a good sense of humor. He asks Helen if she even knows Vespers are. She guesses that it refers to some kind of scooter. Unhappy while the kids are in school, Helen takes a job working for Mickey Massey (Hector Elizondo), an honest car dealer.
Gary Marshall (The Princess Diaries) directs this diverting and light-hearted comedy from a screenplay by Jack Amiel and Michael Begler. The drama works because Kate Hudson's performance sparkles, and her character's determination to make a new life for herself and the children comes across as genuine. Joan Cusack, as always, is a wonder to behold as the tough-love mother who has to work out her resentment over Helen's fun-filled life.
And we are pleased to announce that John Corbett does a fine job with the role of the Lutheran clergyman who not only handles practical matters at the school but manages to find time to bless the animals at the zoo and to play hockey in an interfaith league. He is refreshingly candid with Helen about the difficulties experienced by a man of the cloth who has feelings of sexual desire just like anybody else. When she rebuffs his first kiss, he states: "I am a sexy man of God and I know it." Good for you, preacher man! You can guess the reversals that take place at the end of the film long before they take place and yet Helen's enthusiasm to acknowledge and express her nurturing self carries the day.
DVD bonuses include a audio commentary with director Garry Marshall and the writers, bloopers from the set, deleted scenes, and the music video, "Extraordinary" by Liz Phair.
Films about Sisters