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MOVIE REVIEW: A Little Help

Winner of the San Diego Film Festival hits big screens

Daniel Yelsky as Dennis and Jenna Fischer as Laura in "A Little Help."

Daniel Yelsky as Dennis and Jenna Fischer as Laura in "A Little Help."

  • Daniel Yelsky as Dennis and Jenna Fischer as Laura in "A Little Help."
  • Jenna Fischer as Laura in "A Little Help."
  • Daniel Yelsky as Dennis in "A Little Help."
  • Chris O'Donnell as Bob in "A Little Help."
  • Jenna Fischer as Laura and Chris O'Donnell as Bob in "A Little Help."
  • Rob Benedict as Paul in "A Little Help."
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A Little Help is about a dental hygienist in Long Island, who is having problems with her marriage and her son. It also appears she has a problem with the bottle.

As a fan of The Office, I've enjoyed seeing both Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski make the leap to the big screen. Yet I'm usually disappointed in the films they've done. That's changed, after seeing Fischer in this. (She was also cute in small roles in Hall Pass and Walk Hard.)

The movie starts off with a clever scene at the dentist from the patient's point of view (who wouldn't mind looking up at Fischer cleaning your bicuspids?).

It's one of the few romantic comedies that actually is both of those things -- romantic and funny.

Even though Fischer's character may have been the cutie in high school that had everything, it’s easy to root for her as her life slowly starts to crumble.

You’ll enjoy watching all the other characters, whether that's comedian Jim Florentine as not quite the date from hell, but somebody well below her standards. And we can realistically see how she got drawn into that date. In most other films, you're wondering why certain characters married the people they did, or had the affairs they did. People are thrown together in bizarre ways in movies and we’re expected to just buy it.

There's also a great actor in the role of a sleazy lawyer (Kim Coates), and so many other interesting characters. That would include Leslie Ann Warren (where has she been?) and Chris O'Donnell, who has developed nicely into an adult actor.

The sign of a good film is when a common movie scene is done convincingly. There are a handful of scenes like that in this.One has the nerdy kid from high school -- now a cool, hip father -- confessing his long held crush for Fischer. The way that scene is handled and plays out makes you wish more screenwriters were this sharp.

Writer/Director Michael J. Weithorn is known for the TV shows he's worked on. Well, this is one small step for a TV producer, one giant step for movie fans. With this picture, it's a promise of great things to come.