Saturday, 11 February 2012

A Little Help

Even when small independent films contain a variety of flaws, they often provide a much more fulfilling viewing experience than most of the box office giants. A Little Help, written and directed by Michael J. Weithorn, is a perfect example. Despite the flaws identified below, I thoroughly enjoyed watching A Little Help and recommend it to all you indie film fans.

A Little Help stars Jenna Fischer as Laura, a dental hygienist struggling to be a good parent to her 12-year-old son while suspecting that her husband is having an affair. She’s right about the affair, but her husband dies before that is confirmed and now Laura has to figure out how to be a single parent. This might be easier if she wasn’t constantly being “helped” by her controlling sister, Kathy (played by Brooke Smith), and her critical nagging mother (played by Lesley Ann Warren). To make life even more complicated, Laura discovers that Kathy’s husband, Paul (Rob Benedict), has been in love with her since high school and recently she has found herself attracted to him.

Laura is such a flawed, immature infuriating character (she is not exactly a role model for good parenting), that we should not be sympathetic towards her, but Fischer does a tremendous job of making Laura look vulnerable and picked on, so I did want to support her struggle to get out from under her overbearing relatives and greedy lawyer and find happiness.

Nevertheless, as I mentioned, A Little Help has its share of flaws. For example, individual scenes are better than their sum (the story does not flow the way it should), the direction does not feel very tight and the comedy often felt forced to me. Still, like I said, I enjoyed the film very much and am giving it ***+. My mug is up.

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