Somewhere in this mess of a movie, there was an opportunity for something better. While a storyline like this is rife with opportunities to grapple with how someone so young deals with such a grim diagnosis, everything fromWhoopi Goldberg’s cameo as God in Marley’s dreams, not to mention her conversation about whether God exists with Julian, has a cheap, Hallmark card sentimentality about it. At one point, you half expect Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying” to start playing in the background, just to underscore the cheesiness.

But then again, maybe expecting something more substantial from a rom-com with Hudson in the lead is simply too much to ask. Whatever the case, trust me, watching it all play out is nothing more than an unnecessary exercise in frustration.

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol: Social drinking depicted throughout.
  • Language/Profanity: All the usual suspects are here, including the PG-13 maximum of two “f” words and instances where God’s name is taken in vain. When Marley misuses Jesus’s name, God, who’s played by Whoopi Goldberg in Marley’s dreams, makes sure to correct her. There’s also quite a bit of scatological humor related to Marley’s colonoscopy and eventual diagnosis of colon cancer.
  • Sex/Nudity: Marley has a casual, no-strings-attached view when it comes to sex. In addition to plenty of sexually-oriented dialogue (including frank analysis of male and female genitalia), we see her in bed with several men in various stages of lovemaking. In one scene with Julian, we see most of his bare backside. One of Kate’s best guy friends is gay, and there’s a few jokes relating to his dating/sex life. After Marley’s diagnosis, Peter (Romany Malco, Think Like a Man) sends her a male escort, who happens to be a little person, to liven things up (Peter Dinklage, TV’s Game of Thrones). While Marley turns down his offer to have sex, they play a prank on Peter by making it sound (quite loudly, in fact) like they are. There’s also a lengthy scene in a burlesque club with cross-dressing dancers and scantily clad women (bare breasts are shown in shadow).
  • Violence: None, but there are several unpleasant scenes related to Marley’s colon cancer. Let’s just say if you’re squeamish about needles, there are several scenes where you’ll want to avert your eyes.
  • Religion/Worldview: There’s a scene where Marley tells Julian that she wishes she believed in God because that would be such a nice way to live. When asked if he believes in God, Julian says that as a doctor, there isn’t any empirical evidence for God’s existence, but as a human being, he’d have to say that he simply doesn’t know. He’s open to the idea, though. In Marley’s dreams, God is a kind wish-granter with a sharp sense of humor and plenty of sage advice about living life to the fullest.
     

Christa Banister is a full-time freelancer writer, specializing in music, movies and books-related reviews and interviews and is the author of two novels, Around the World in 80 Dates and Blessed Are the Meddlers. Based in Dallas, Texas, she also weighs in on various aspects of pop culture on her personal blogFor more information, including her upcoming book signings and sample chapters of her novels, check out her Website.