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A Little Help is as forgettable as most CBS sitcoms

"Suburban malaise," they call it, and it's the reason that 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 twelve-year-old son (Daniel Yelsky) — a chubby ball of hormonal rage — walk all over her. An underdog family dramedy in the vein of You Can Count on Me or Alexander Payne's oeuvre, A Little Help, the directorial feature debut from 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 blow job, leaving her to be picked apart by her meddling mom (Lesley Ann Warren) and hypercritical sister (Brooke Smith), both of whom demand that she sue for medical malpractice. And the little shit Laura spawned has begun telling classmates that his dad was a first responder who died on 9/11 — an event that occurred a few months before the film's setting — making 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, A Little Help is as average and forgettable as most CBS comedies.


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