Let’s Talk About How The Dead Parents In Raising Helen Are The Worst Parents Ever

raising helen its not going to be okay

For everyone out there who just got nervous that you accidentally googled yourself back in time, remain calm. It is still November 1st, 2013. We’re just in the mood to review a movie from nine years ago. Mostly because  there’s an 83% chance that it will air on Oxygen at least once this month. Crushable: re-reviewing movies because you’re still re-watching them.

Now that we’ve got that time travel panic out of the way, let’s begin!

Raising Helen tells the story of Helen (Kate Hudson), a young professional with a hot boyfriend and a great job. It also tells the story of Helen’s sisters: Jenny (Joan Cusack) and Lindsay (Felicity Huffman). The movie starts by making it clear that Lindsay and Helen are VERY FUN. They do crazy things like celebrate birthdays with family and dance to music. Jenny, on the other hand, is a total drag. She’s into “rules” and “bedtimes” and probably things like “eating vegetables.” In other words, she’s the worst. And in other other words, she’s a responsible parent.

A few minutes into the movie, Lindsay and her husband die in a car accident. While we don’t know details, we should assume that they were doing something fun when they died, like singing with the windows down or drinking. Lindsay’s three children — Audrey (Hayden Panettiere), Henry (Spencer Breslin) and Sarah (Abigail Breslin) — are obviously upset. But not as upset as they would be if they knew how their parents totally effed them over in the will. Yeah, that’s right, their “fun” parents got a little too goofy when they were at that lawyer’s office.

Rather than leave their three young children to Jenny, a married mother with a large house and the desire to raise children, they leave them to Helen. Because she’s fun and because she knows the lyrics to “Whip It.” Keep in mind, Helen lives in a studio apartment in Manhattan and has never once expressed an interest in raising children — let alone three that she did not birth herself. Nevertheless Lindsay and Paul think she’s the one who should raise their kids. In fact, they believe in her as a parent so much that they never even sit down and talk to her about it. They just write her down as the guardian in the will and leave the lyrics to “whip it” as an explanation.

“That’ll be fun,” Lindsay must’ve said to Paul as they filled out the legal paperwork, “Helen will be all sad that we’re dead and then the lawyer will hand her the lyrics and our children and she’ll cheer right up.”

“Great point Linds!” Paul probably chimed in, “raising our children will also probably help your sister finally grow up and learn to be responsible.”

“Hmmm,” Lindsay probably said with a bit of hesitation in her voice, “do you think it’s a bad idea if we use our children to help teach my sister a lesson about being an adult.”

“Nope,” said Paul, who had stopped listening because lawyers are boring and making will are boring and fun people don’t like boring things. (Hey did you know that Paul and Lindsay are very fun!?)

Naturally none of this “will stuff” sits well with Jenny, who as we’ve said before, is an experienced mother with a great track record. She’s all like, “please let me raise them! I know how to do it and it makes no sense for you to do it. Like really, no sense. You’d have to rearrange your entire lifestyle, which is do-able, but will likely only lead to you resenting the children. And the children will be able to tell you that hate them and they’ll act out and before you know it we’ll have two nieces and a nephew in rehab.”

“Nah,” Kate responded, “Lindsay left them to me and I want them. Also did she leave anything else to me? Jewelry? Money? That fur coat? Double also, how do kids work?”

I mean, maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but not really that much. Lindsay and Paul totally screwed their kids over to teach Helen a lesson. And sure, by the end of the movie, Helen learns her lesson. But at what price?

(GIF: Tumblr)

You can read more movie reviews from the ’90s and ’00s by checking out Retro Reviews.

Share This Post:
    • Olivia Wilson

      “Ugh, mom, quit being so *responsible*. You’re trying to raise me properly, ew!”

    • CortCab

      I think the Worst Parent Ever competition is between them and that couple from Life As We Know It–because obviously Katherine Heigel and Josh Duhamel (who hate each other) will make excellent parents.

      • Jenni

        Don’t even get me started on that movie. They used their death and their child TO SET THEIR FRIENDS UP. It’s insanity.

    • cy

      Well…what happens? Don’t leave me hanging! (I’ve never been able to make it all the way through that movie even though it runs monthly!)

      • Jenni

        Helen learns how to be an adult through a moving musical montage.

      • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

        Ugh. I might have known. It’s always a moving musical montage. I have tried to watch it, too, but I get mad. I guess I would understand if the mothery-sister didn’t exist. Like….why is she there? It would make more sense if she was like the kids’ grandmother and too old to do it, but there to disapprove. Then we, the viewers, would not spend the whole beginning being pissed at the parents and unable to watch further (which is what happened to me).

    • Kathleen Fitzgerald

      This movie was truly awful, the whole time I watched it I was crossing my fingers that’d she’d give them to the responsible sister and that the movie would end sooner.

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