A Little Help [Blu-Ray] Michael J. Weithorn

A Little Help [Blu-Ray] Michael J. Weithorn
Masquerading as an ersatz indie-comedy of sorts, A Little Help is one of two 9/11 allegories this year to posit a fictional legal case where parties are coerced into laying subjective blame for accidents or oversights causing death. But while Margaret (the other) dove into the limitations of human consciousness and the arbitrary nature of debate and discussion, tackling the disease rather than the symptoms, this far more accessible and light-hearted (but weaker) comedy sticks to the nature of coping mechanisms, self-preservation and the nature of lying. It does so by having the unhappily married Laura (Jenna Fischer) wind up a widow after husband Bob (Chris O'Donnell) dies of a heart attack mid-fellatio. The legalities come in the form of hearsay and conjecture due to a medical misdiagnosis prior to the death, when a doctor mistakes arrhythmia for a panic attack. Thing is: Laura isn't certain it's entirely the doctor's fault, since Bob may have lied about not having a heightened heart rate during prior attacks in order to cover up a potential affair. And since Bob is dead, no one will ever know. To help solidify thematic consistency and drive home subtext, there's a secondary storyline wherein Laura's overweight son lies to his classmates, telling them that his father was a fire fighter that died in the twin towers. It's all handled comically, with Jenna Fischer doing her best wide-eyed, exasperated and depressive routine, coyly responding to insane statements with dry curiosity, which makes it far more entertaining than the preachy politics imply. There are secondary thematic veins involving the nature of commerce versus art (Laura's nephew wants to be a musician, but his mother wants him to go to business school), as well as a bit of repressed romance. In a broad sense, it all works as a mediocre-to-good diversion, but there's something a little laborious and sluggish about the actual machinations. To boot, no one ever points out that Laura's nephew has Joan Jett hair, which is something no man, or boy, should ever have. Included with the Blu-Ray is a Jakob Dylan music video and some actor interviews that talk mostly about character. (eOne)