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|Index||23 reviews in total|
Saw this tonight at the Seattle International Film Festival. I was not expecting such a good movie. The writing and performances had the full house laughing throughout. This is definitely a "dramedy" though. A lot of touching moments between Jenna Fischer's character and Daniel Yelsky, as well as Jenna and Rob Benedict. I expect this film to do quite well once it picks up a distributor. If I had to compare it to other films, James L. Brooks better films came to mind, as well as PT Anderson -- mostly because of the superb casting and writing. I wouldn't change a thing about this movie. I almost forgot to mention the new songs by Jakob Dylan that fit the movie so well. I'm still going to see another 15 or so movies at SIFF, but I fear I have already seen the best film that will screen at the festival.
This indie dramedy casts cutie-pie Jenna Fischer (of TV's "The Office") as Laura, a woman suffering from a variety of problemsdead-end marriage, unappreciative son, bitchy sister, condescending momthat no amount of beer and cigarettes can make go away. Then things take a turn for the worse. The movie is about how lies infect the soulhow they grow, like a cancer, and end up spoiling life. There are impressive turns by Ron Liebman and Lesley Ann Warren as Laura's parents, and Kim Coates as a calculating attorneythe embodiment of Satanic dishonesty, he might as well have been carrying a trident. "A Little Help" may not wind up in a lot of the year's Top 10 lists, but I found myself caring about the characters, warts and all. (For once, Fischer is photographed in a way that is not particularly attractive). A winning effort by first-time feature writer/director Michael J. Weithorn.
I normally don't like to call out other reviewers on their views, but I
feel like the review that's posted on the page doesn't do this film
justice at all. Sure, Jenna Fischer plays a very annoying character,
and sure, her son is annoying as all get out, but to claim that either
doesn't grow is a little rough.
I think the movie does a great job at exemplifying the tribulations of real life, and it's exactly the point of the film not to have a huge ending where everyone involved has an epiphany and changes all of his or her ways. Everyone has a ton of problems, but the fact that they aren't shown climbing triumphantly out from them is exactly how real life is, how many of you can just walk away from a rough marriage, or problems with a child, or the suspicion of an affair? These aren't things one can simply "Get over" within the span of days, or maybe even ever, and this movie shows that in a way that is quietly elegant. The viewer is left with the statement that things are going to be better, and the viewer has to trust that they will be, as opposed to being shown that they are.
It's a quirky sad film, one that doesn't really make the viewer feel all that great, but it certainly leaves enough room for a quiet warmth; a slow hope that stays with the viewer after the movie ends. It's a great film, an annoying and frustrating and awkward film, but a great film nevertheless. The viewer sees human beings interacting with each other, and very human reactions. It's nothing that's going remain with you for days, but it will make you smile.
My wife and I very much enjoyed this unpretentious film at the San Jose Cinequest Film Festival. It certainly blends comedy and drama very well, and the story line flows very smoothly. Well-delivered humor kept the audience laughing evenly throughout the story, which complimented the more somber and poignant moments. The actors, many of whom are recognizable from television and the big screen all added to the believability of the story. While I sat there and thought "I am glad this is not my family's story," I, nevertheless, could relate and was drawn to the characters and their trials. There was a certain sweetness about this story that made Laura's (Jenna Fischer) life ultimately redeeming, and ultimately a pleasant surprise to this reviewer.
This was a great film! I saw this at the San Diego Film Festival a couple of weeks ago and it was a happy little surprise. Jenna Fischer did an amazing job, as a matter of fact, EVERY actor in this film was tremendous. The film was very believable, it focused on a young mother who's marriage is falling apart. She is slowly drifting into a hopeless state; being unloved and slightly alcoholic in return. Then her life changes when events unfold. We watch her handle all these problems at once and still we see her emerge as a better person in the end. The film is not as much of a downer as it sounds, and there is plenty humor in it. The best thing about this film is the reality of it, it's very easy to relate to. The relationships are believable as well as the situations and dialog. I enjoyed this film and I highly recommend it. This film and Nowhere Boy were my two favorite films from the festival.
I watched this movie after first coming across it on IMDb and reading stellar reviews describing it as a "dramedy". Unfortunately, I found the beginning slow and drawn out to the point of boredom. I had a difficult time caring about any of the characters or what would happen to them. I actually fell asleep and had to rewind in my quest to find the point where it would improve. I did not find this movie interesting or funny and some scenes were actually distasteful. I thought the characters annoying and unlikeable. Some reviewers commented that this movie was great because it was true to life; not every situation ends up tied up in pretty bows and perfect endings, etc. Sure, that's true. BUT, that does not mean I should be satisfied watching characters without redeeming qualities who do not develop in a movie with a flat ending. If I'm going to invest 108 minutes in a movie my lowest expectation is to care about what happens to the characters. It's interesting to read such different reviews about the same movie. In this case, since some people loved it I would suggest watching it yourself if the storyline interests you and then post a review here.
The only thing good about this movie is Jenna Fischer, and she's very,
very good. Otherwise, the acting is mediocre at best and the story,
dialog and direction are pretty bad. Only Fischer's perfect performance
in a ridiculous movie makes it worth watching.
It IS a comedy, by the way, despite what some online reviewers have said. It just doesn't work as a comedy, or as a drama, or as anything else... except as a vehicle for Fischer's unique gift for playing likable, thoroughly and consistently entertaining losers, who also are totally believable human beings - not by any means an easy feat. She's almost a female Woody Allen, except she's not an obnoxious, whining, passive-aggressive, self-aggrandizing pervert.
I personally would give this movie 6.5/10 if possible; it isn't
particularly good, but as other reviewers have commented, I appreciated
the rawly exposed main character Laura (Jenna Fischer). I don't think
the characters make believable individual families, but together the
chemistry of the actors remind me of 'The Royal Tenenbaums', which I
felt was as overrated as this movie is underrated.
The plot of the movie is contrived, but if one looks at the writer/director (Michael J Weithorn), it makes perfect sense that the characters are very unique, but there is simply not enough time to develop them fully. The setting (Long Island, 2002) lends this movie some interesting flavor and some of the scenes where I laughed out loud were because they were ironic/sarcastic and generally dry, which I feel accurately depicts the vanilla suburbia that surrounds the concrete jungle of NYC. There is a theme of class warfare that I found interesting even if it did not develop into a great ending.
For people who haven't seen it but might try it on Netflix, etc., it can best be explained like this: the first 25 minutes introduce many characters and would make an interesting TV pilot, and the rest of the movie tries to awkwardly make the people pieces fit together into a situation that would be better delivered as several half-hour episodes/seasons on basic cable. The ending is not particularly gratifying, but the reflections on life and the character development make it a sentimentally rewarding movie. Go into it with low expectations, and you will be pleasantly surprised. Watch it a second time, and you will be rewarded with its subtlety.
I like Jenna Fischer. Everybody likes Jenna Fischer. That said, she's
like Rashida Jones, great in an ensemble, but nowhere near enough
gravitas to pull off the lead. It's a question of intensity. Even in a
light weight movie, the lead has to have some sort of inner tension
that can be seen and heard. Fischer is just too easy to look past. You
can't bring yourself to worry if she's going to be okay, because you
know she will be. She radiates that innocent girlishness that makes men
instinctively protective. In fact I'd wager that she's one of those
women who hasn't gone more than a month without a steady boyfriend
since high school, because 'good guys' won't leave her alone. Also, the
directing was beyond lazy. I doubt he told anybody what do ever,
including the editor. Frankly, I know a pretty talented guy who could
recut this and make it a much better film. Honestly, that may be all it
needs. Revised opinion, re-release it after cutting it so Fisher gets
more close ups and the dialog moves faster. 6 out of 10
Revised, revised Opinion: Wrote review while watching movie (was in about 1:26). Now that it's over my advice is to avoid. Unless you're a hardcore Fischer fan, it's not worth the time investment. Everything that's set up basically just hangs there. The characters don't get smarter (except learning not to tell gigantic lies you can't support). In fact, the writing pretty much loses all direction and just becomes forgettable nonsense with no resolution, point or lesson. 4 out of 10
Released in 2010, "A Little Help" stars Jenna Fischer as a
nearing-middle-age mother from Long Island whose marriage is troubled
and her family overbearing. She turns to smoking, drinking and worse to
cope and fill the void. Chris O'Donnell plays her husband (in a small
role), Ron Leibman & Lesley Ann Warren play her father and mother,
Brooke Smith & Rob Benedict her sister and brother-in-law, and Daniel
Yelsky her son.
Some people complain that this movie is depressing because it deals with heavy issues, like adultery, premature death, lawsuits, alcoholism, rebellious children and the like. While this is true, the tone is too quirky and light to regard with dismal seriousness. Some complain that the son is a little too disrespectful and it's infuriating. This is also true, but it's intrinsic to the plot. The film's all about Jenna's character escaping the manipulations of those who take advantage of her and try to control her. Jim Florentine from That Metal Show appears in an amusing sequence that reveals the emptiness of casual sex. The movie's not great, but it's good enough and, despite the amusing aspects, it smacks of real life, not to mention the subtexts are great and Jenna's a cutie.
The film runs 109 minutes and was shot on Long Island, NY.
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