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A Little Help

6/10
Romance . Drama . Comedy
 

It's a movie for everyone whose life has been thrown off-course, out of whack, or simply not turned out the way they planned it. In other words, it's a movie for everyone, period. Set in suburban Long Island in the summer of 2002, with the psychic wounds of 9/11 still fresh, A Little Help is a story that takes a comic, searching and profoundly empathetic look at a few pivotal months in the life of dental hygienist Laura Pehlke (Jenna Fischer)-an ordinary woman whose life suddenly flies off the rails-and her heroic efforts to re-establish a sense of security and normalcy for herself and her son.

 
Actors: Lesley Ann Warren , Kim Coates , Chris O'Donnell , Jenna Fischer , Daniel Yelsky , Brooke Smith , Sara Kapner , Zach Page , Rob Benedict , Jay Klaitz
Directors: Michael J. Weithorn
Country: USA
Release: 2011-07-22
More Info:
  • Roger Ebert

    It's manipulative, yes, but clever and persuasive in its manipulations.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Kyle Smith

    File this one in the same category of edgy Long Island comedies as the equally smart 2009 Alec Baldwin film "Lymelife."

    New York Post Full Review
  • Calvin Wilson

    Smith turns in a subtly layered performance that suggests the hurt behind Kathy's callousness. And O'Donnell gets to the heart of a man who realizes too late that he's made unfortunate choices.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    This is one of the smarter, more honest scripts to be filmed in quite some time. And Jenna Fischer, star of "The Office," gives one of the smarter, more honest - and vulnerable, and tough - performances by an actress on the big screen in an even longer stretch.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Keith Staskiewicz

    Fischer's performance is sweet and subtle, but the film can be so understated in tone and plot that it's hard to tell if it's actually saying anything.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    A Little Help settles for familiar and modest payoffs. It's not much. Yet Fischer clearly relishes the chance to play someone who's a demurely reckless mess.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    A Little Help is worth watching, mostly for Fischer.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Joe Neumaier

    Weithorn, a sitcom vet whose credits include "Ned and Stacey" and "The King of Queens," makes sure even the quiet moments in the unassuming "A Little Help" move things forward. And that every one of Laura's missteps is in the right direction.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Sheri Linden

    What writer-director Michael J. Weithorn, a sitcom vet, gets right is the Long Island vibe, the New York smarts crossed with small-town insularity. If the film takes too long to reach its rather soft denouement, Fischer makes Laura's awakening convincing.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Jeannette Catsoulis

    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 New York Times Full Review
  • Pete Hammond

    A highly entertaining and richly human movie experience with a gem of a performance from Jenna Fischer.

    Boxoffice Magazine Full Review
  • Nathan Rabin

    It's difficult to figure out exactly where the film might be heading at any given point, since it follows the loping, meandering rhythms and casualness of a character study rather than conforming to the conventions of any particular genre.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Amy Biancolli

    Some of the film is imaginatively put together. But the melodrama feels forced - manipulated by filmmakers hell-bent on teaching its main character a lesson or two about life and the need to seize it.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Frank Scheck

    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.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    The movie wants to be an exploration of family ties and the various ways in which the people we love respond in times of crisis, but the drama is unconvincing, the characters are ill-defined, and Fischer, so good on The Office, seems a bit incomplete without Jim at her side.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Rex Reed

    A benign slice of life about suburban angst on Long Island. It's not much, but thanks to the noble efforts of a very good cast, I've seen worse.

    New York Observer Full Review
  • Aaron Hillis

    The film is as average and forgettable.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • David Fear

    While Fischer handles every emotional curveball, she's not helped by the film's reliance on rote notions of piecing your life back together. Is it worth putting a good actor through the screen-martyrdom wringer for a minuscule payoff?

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Dennis Harvey

    This tale of a Long Island dental hygienist dealing with various family crises is likable enough, but never really distinctive in character delineation, tone, atmosphere or plotting.

    Variety Full Review
  • Nick Schager

    Michael J. Weithorn's direction underlined its understatement via self-consciously patient camerawork and a doleful score, all in order to further the mournful mood.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Wesley Morris

    It's not that Jenna Fischer is miscast in A Little Help. It's that she's mis-everything else: misused, misdirected, misanthropic.

    Boston Globe Full Review
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  • 10. If You Want To Rock And Roll Performer: Dion DiMucci as Dion and Zach Page Stream Music Online

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  • reference to buddy holly

  • heart attack

  • death of husband

  • sibling rivalry

  • dysfunctional marriage

  • reference to tom seaver

  • barbecue

  • pov shot

  • deposition

  • reference to reggie jackson

  • lost dog

  • birdseye shot

  • reference to spiderman

  • reference to howard cosell

  • sportswriter

  • reference to george w. bush

  • reference to cassius clay

  • rack focus

  • first day in school

  • secret drinker

  • reference to '69 mets

  • oral sex

  • barking dog

  • reference to 9 11

  • tennis ball

  • parrot

  • reference to keith richards

  • dying during sex

  • gas station

  • babysitter

  • funeral

  • gazebo

  • man and woman having sex

  • overweight child

  • reference to michael bloomberg

  • reference to mike piazza

  • real estate broker

  • tort lawyer

  • medical malpractice

  • cigarette smoking

  • pot smoking

  • latex gloves

  • private school

  • dental hygienist

  • independent film

  • liar

  • lie

  • bare chested male

  • widow

  • sister sister relationship

  • single mother

  • new york city

  • mother son relationship

  • brother in law sister in law relationship

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