It seems to be getting easier to deal with cancer. In A Little Bit of Heaven, director Nicole Kassell’s sophomore effort, ad exec Marley Corbett (Kate Hudson) seems to suffer nothing more than the symptoms of a very bad cold. She sails through medical and insurance systems and is awarded a million dollars from the life insurance policy provided to her by her employers (which she uses, in part, to take her friends on a shopping spree); her doctor is hunky and foreign, she gets to have several private consultations with God (Whoopi Goldberg) in which she is granted wishes (!) and she loses neither her hair nor her figure.

Sarcasm aside, the above is true, but the movie isn’t all bad. In fact it can be quite amiable. Hudson certainly is. Her trillion dollar smile is in top form and her likeability is through the roof. The film’s casting is also impeccable. You couldn’t find anyone better than Hudson to play her role as written. The same goes for Gael Garcia Bernal, who plays Hudson’s doctor and love interest. The stellar cast also includes Lucy Punch, Rosemarie Dewitt and Romany Malco whose talents are wasted by sharing the best friend role. Kathy Bates and the underappreciated Treat Williams as her overbearing mother and “emotionally constipated” father, respectively, fare a little bit better. Both breathe life into underwritten roles. Peter Dinklage also makes the most of his bizarre and superfluous role as a little person male prostitute (sent as a joke by Malco’s character) who briefly and inconsequentially befriends Marley.

But Heaven will suffer at the box office for two reasons. First, it’s hard to get people to go to a movie that they perceive to be depressing and cancer isn’t exactly pick-me-up subject matter. Second, people may not take the film seriously because Hudson is known for much lighter, fluffier fare. The former is inescapable. The latter isn’t really fair. Kate Hudson, despite what she, or other people, may think is a good actress. She has given her talents short shrift though, having largely chosen to skate through through one romantic comedy after another on her considerable charms instead of following through on the promise she displayed in her Oscar nominated debut in Almost Famous. Heaven reminds the audience of Hudson’s dramatic chops though it only allows for a fairly superficial look. The film itself relies too much on Hudson’s charms, allowing her precious few truly dramatic moments. But, with the ones she does have, Hudson delivers.

The film is alternately being marketed as a love story and a ‘Cancer Comedy’ but it neither achieves the emotional resonance of a film like 1970’s Love Story, the ripple effect of which we still feel today, nor does it strike a comedy/drama balance as well as last year’s 50/50, another cancer comedy starring Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

I will say this about Heaven; it does not remotely feel like a Lifetime Cancer Movie. This is a feature all the way, elevated somewhat by its irreverence, but mostly by the combined talents of the cast.

Heaven wants to teach that one should maintain a sense of humor while dealing with adversity and that life is beautiful – an admirable goal in today’s filmmaking climate. It does deliver on those messages, however superficially. The film doesn’t deserve to be ignored but it’s not one to run right out and see either. If you’re in the mood for such a thing, you won’t have a bad time.