A Sitcom Version of Suburban Angst in A Little Help
"Suburban malaise" they call it, and it's the reason why Long Island dental hygienist Laura (Jenna Fischer) self-soothes with afternoon Budweisers, jealously stews over her disparaging, workaholic husband (Chris O'Donnell), and lets her 12-year-old son (Daniel Yelsky)a chubby ball of hormonal ragewalk all over her. An underdog family dramedy in the vein of You Can Count on Me or Alexander Payne's oeuvre, the directorial feature debut from The King of Queens co-creator Michael J. Weithorn has the pleasant production values, fine acting, terse one-liners, and fruitlessly overstated dramatics one might expect from a veteran writer and producer of sitcoms. Laura's hardest knocks come knocking after her hubby dies of arrhythmia during a blowjob, leaving her to be picked apart by her meddling mom (Lesley Ann Warren) and hypercritical sister (Brooke Smith), both of whom demand she sue for medical malpractice. And the little shit Laura spawned has begun telling classmates that his dad was a first-responder who died in 9/11an event that occurred a few months before the film's settingmaking her an inexcusable accomplice in the lie. The film's title needs a question mark, as our drowning heroine must grab her own bootstraps, but for all its sincerity, the film is as average and forgettable as most CBS comedies.
Get the Film Club Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.
More Film News
- Alex Gibney: Steve Jobs Had the 'Focus of a Monk — Without the Empathy'
- Netflix’s 'Narcos' Tries to Be 'The Wire' for Colombia’s Drug War
- ‘The Second Mother’ Offers a Sharp Brazilian Take on the Upstairs/Downstairs Drama
- The Predictability of Teary Kids Doc 'My Voice, My Life' Doesn't Make It Any Less Powerful