Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Little Help

In 2002 Long Island, an alcoholic dental hygienist has a quarrel with her philandering husband who proceeds to drop dead after a visit to the doctor's office for chest pains. Now, with her overbearing family forcing her to be party to a malpractice suit and demanding she move her loner son to a private school, she begins to perpetuate a lie when he tells his new classmates that his father was one of the fallen firefighters in 9/11. Michael J. Weithorn's "A Little Help" is a slight film that is notable for a strong central performance from Jenna Fischer from TV's "The Office". In a film filled with more than a few misfire gags and irritating supporting performances, Fischer carries it with a commanding lead performance that succeeds both comically and dramatically. Watching "A Little Help" I was reminded of "Big Fan", another tale about a maladjusted New Yorker centered on a towering lead performance. As Patton Oswalt elevated that film, so does Jenna Fischer in this movie that is not quite worthy of her talents.