Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.

Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

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Movie review

Boring 'Helen'

Published May 31, 2004

Kate Hudson and John Corbett, right, appear in a scene from Raising Helen.

Billy Norris
Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

Raising Helen

Rating: PG-13 for thematic issues

Summary: Helen Harris (Kate Hudson) is the highly successful assistant to the owner of a topnotch New York modeling agency. But her life changes dramatically when her sister, Lindsay (Felicity Huffman), and brother-in-law die in a car accident, leaving their three children orphaned. Surprisingly, Lindsay leaves the children to Helen instead of their other sister, Jenny (Joan Cusack), a sort of supermom who is devastated by this choice. So it's up to Helen to change her lifestyle to support the newest members of her family, Audrey (Hayden Panettiere), Henry (Spencer Breslin) and Sarah (Abigail Breslin), while dealing with Jenny's jealousy.

My view: This film had its cute and heartwarming aspects, but overall it was missing something. The plot seemed to lack direction, and I was left feeling unsatisfied. The humor was bland at times, and tickling at others, but in general left a lot to be desired. The run time was unnecessarily inflated by seemingly insignificant diversions from the main plot. Hudson's acting was just plain average. In fact, the entire film was average - not too much to gawk about here.

Recommendations: As far as the teenage population goes, this movie will leave most of us uninspired and indifferent. It will probably fare better when it reaches video stores.

Grade: C

- Billy Norris, 16, with be in the 11th grade at Seminole High School and is a former member of the Times X-Team.

[Last modified May 28, 2004, 12:47:36]

Here's the rest of today's Xpress

  • Xpressions: Possessions worth cherishing
  • Calling all aspiring journalists

  • Movie review
  • Boring 'Helen'
  • Put this plot back on ice
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