See This Not That: ‘My Blue Heaven’ Over ‘A Little Bit of Heaven’

In our new column See This Not That, we’ll break down two different -- but kinda sorta related -- films for you every Tuesday.

This week it's "My Blue Heaven" up against "A Little Bit of Heaven." To be bluntly honest, one is heaven-sent and the other is hell-bound.

See This

With a screenplay penned by Nora Ephron ("When Harry Met Sally," "Sleepless in Seattle") -- a writer with a knack for crafting comedic characters paired with memorable one-liners -- 1990's "My Blue Heaven" makes a hilarious mockery of the mob. A youthful Steve Martin is Vinnie Antonelli, a rouge mobster that goes from the streets of New York to the streets of suburbia as a member of the Witness Protection Program. Rick Moranis is Barney Coopersmith, a mousey F.B.I. agent assigned to assist Antonelli in adjusting to small-town life.

What ensues is a convincing performance from Martin. His nasal voice, Italian-American hair and makeup job and Mafioso swagger bode well for his comedic chops. Martin becomes the misfit Corleone cousin, armed with a sense of humor and suburban survival skills. If nothing else, Martin teaching Moranis to do the merengue in an effort to woo his woman (Joan Cusack) is well worth watching. While Martin does not exactly exude a badass persona, he certainly brings the charm.

Not That

"A Little Bit of Heaven" is a grossly misleading title. The romantic comedy that hit theaters on May 4 stars Kate Hudson as Marley Corbett, the self-described slut turned colon cancer patient who falls in love with her doctor, Julian Goldstein, played by Gael Garcia Bernal. After a horribly bizarre vision from heaven where Whoopie Goldberg is God, the film becomes merely a series of cringe-worthy, carpe diem cliches, driven by the thought of death.

Since when did cancer become a rom-com regular ("50/50")? Cancer and comedy do not complement each other (obviously), making "A Little Bit of Heaven" a little bit of hell. Sure, the idea of a woman living and loving life to the fullest is ideally romantic, but there's an absolute absence of reality in this film. Let's face it, no one looks like Kate Hudson in the midst of chemo, and no one ever enjoys chemo that much. As a whole, the film is like the disease it describe -- a slow and agonizing killer.