A Little Help Reviews
Though the enjoyable prickliness of the film's early scenes soon dissolves into cozy solutions, a sturdy supporting cast - even Ron Leibman's scenery-chewing turn as Laura's blowhard father is more amusing than annoying - balances the scales.
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.
This is one of the smarter, more honest scripts to be filmed in quite some time. And Jenna Fischer gives one of the smarter, more honest - and vulnerable, and tough - performances by an actress on the big screen in an even longer stretch.
The film suffers from an uncertain tone, playing serious situations for laughs while supplying Laura with a drinking habit and a hair-trigger temper that come across as problems rather than endearing foibles.
A Little Help doesn't dazzle, and you can pick at its parts, but Fischer's performance gives the movie a sense of romantic weariness that lingers. Life is a series of disasters to be weathered, no matter how cute you are.
The actors are sincere (especially Ms. Fischer, who plays frustration well) and the direction has a complacent rhythm, but 1 hour and 48 minutes is too long for a movie in which nothing much happens.
Ultimately, the film is best appreciated as a welcome big-screen starring vehicle for Fischer, who expertly navigates the comedic and dramatic demands of a role that keeps her onscreen for virtually the entire running time.