By EWAN McDONALD

(Herald rating: * )

Kate Hudson sets out to prove that anything Mom can do, she can do ... just the same. Play the kooky blonde in a romantic comedy like Goldie Hawn, that is. Trouble is, this is not really romantic, or a comedy. In fact, it has a bit of a problem knowing what it wants to be.

Life-in-the-fast-lane model agent Helen Harris (Hudson) has to grow up, like, really, really quickly when her sister (Felicity Huffman) dies in a car crash. Helen's share of the will is the three kids: moody teenager (Hayden Panettiere), smart-mouth 10-year-old (Spencer Breslin); and cute 5-year-old (Abigail Breslin).

She faces some angst from big sister (Joan Cusack) who is a mum, thinks the kids would be better with her, and has to pick up the all-too obvious pieces in the first few days. Weeks.

Like the time Helen allows the kids' pet to be killed and her niece wants to sleep with the bad boy next door and has trouble giving up her cool but shallow friends and interact with the local minister. Rom-com? No: melodramatic, manipulative, implausible were actually the words that came to mind.

So far as the DVD is concerned, the guys who were put on the project team probably knew that tweenage girls are not big buyers of their product so they haven't put a great deal of effort into extras. There's the usual commentary track from director Garry Marshall and his writers; a bloopers reel; deleted scenes and outtakes, also with commentary; and Liz Phair's Extraordinary music video.

* DVD, video rental 3 November