Everybody needs a little help in their life but many are afraid to ask for it. Perhaps they need to know how to ask for a raise, or perhaps help with their geometry homework. One does not exactly gain knowledge of how to ask out a beautiful redhead supermodel unless they get a little help from somewhere. But I digress. Today, we explore the life of Laura who apparently needs a little help when her cheating husband dies right in front of her. Things are not as easy as they seem.
Laura (played by Jenna Fischer) is a dental assistant. Behind is a very noisy macaw outside the window who constantly repeats “Rinse Please”. He is supposed to be soothing. She talks to the patient and tells him about her husband and how he flosses with the extra waxy floss and how that is not good for him. Laura obsesses a bit about the fact that her husband ignores her and the patient soon wonders where the exit sign is at.
When she is done with work, Laura sits back with a cigarette and a drink only to realize that she forgot to pick up her child after his day of camp. Laura jumps in the car and drives like a mad woman to pick up Dennis (played by Daniel Yelsky). She apologizes for being late and he gets in the car to be driven home. They talk about camp and we notice that Dennis does not make friends easily. They make the drive to a birthday party that is being put on by her sister, Kathy (played by Brooke Smith).
At the party, we are introduced to Paul (played by Rob Benedict) who is Kathy’s husband as well as Kathy/Laura’s mother Joan (played by Lesley Ann Warren). Paul and Kathy’s oldest child, Kyle (played by Zach Page) has ambitions to be in a rock band. Eventually this party is joined by Laura’s husband, Bob (played by Chris O’Donnell) who apparently had another late meeting.
Anyway, Laura is into her third beer and she starts to argue with Bob. After a while, some of the ugly truth starts to come out. Apparently Bob has been sleeping around, Laura drinks and smokes and doesn’t quite look as pretty as she used too (she’s still pretty striking to me but let’s move on). As they gripe, Laura (who had been finishing up a birthday cake), throws candles at Bob and then she literally runs right out the door. Bob tries to catch up after her but has an anxiety attack and is rushed to the hospital.
Well, after the doctor’s tell him he is fine, Bob is sent home with his now apologetic wife, Laura. She tries to make it up to Bob by dressing sexy (the reviewer approves) and performing a little bit of oral pleasure. However, Bob enjoys it a little bit too much and promptly keels over. It appears he had an irregular heartbeat that was not treated correctly. Now, Laura has a 12 year old to feed and mounting bills. She needs a little help, and unfortunately her witchy mother and sister are doing anything but that.
After a while, we also see that Laura and Paul develop something of a relationship as Laura is going through a painful time and Paul’s marriage with Kathy is dissolving before his eyes mostly over how they view Kyle’s guitar playing. Jenna Fischer and Rob Benedict do a great job here of acting and really show a wonderful range. However, the problems here stem from the writing and not going far enough with their ideas.
Despite some great performances, we never see Jenna’s character of Laura truly go over the top. There is no single scene that we can point to and go “AH-HA! Here is where she takes control of her life.” We don’t even get a moment where she tells off her mother or sister which they so richly deserve. The movie ends for the most part where it begins and there is not much resolved, except Bob died. There are a few tender moments but by and large they just do not lead anywhere.
The video is in 1.85:1 widescreen presentation at 1080p resolution. I was pleasantly surprised by the detail and sharpness in the image. There is a mixture here between set and on location work but one would never know it if somebody did not tell you. This has all the appearance of a bigger budget film but with a hungrier cast. Am I the only person who is reminded of Jennifer Anniston when I see Jenna Fischer? Same look, same type of roles.
For the audio portion, we get a 5.1 DTS-HD track in English. Just like the video, this is a very strong audio track. From the very first screech from the macaw to the multiple screechings of Laura’s tires, we get clear crisp quality and good use of the surround speakers for effects. Dialog clarity is never a problem and we get a strong audio presentation start to finish. Subtitles were provided in English SDH.
- Interviews 11:53: There are 11 different interviews here divided by person and subject (which means for example in the case of Jenna Fischer, she gets three spots). None of these are very in depth and are strictly promo fluff pieces.
- Jakob Dylan Music Video 4:21: This is for the song, “You’re No Match For What You Gotten In” (if I butchered that title, I apologize). Good song, great musician, terrible video. Rule #116 of making videos: Never include sound effects and talking from the actual movie when inserting clips.
- TV Spot 0:31: A spot they ran quickly to instill interest from somebody watching “Friends” re-runs. Oh that Ross.
- Trailer 2:15: The basic trailer. The movie is funny but you would think it is a laugh fest beginning to end by the looks of it. The jokes are mostly smart and subtle.
Let me make something clear, this is a decent movie. It had so much potential but then somewhere in the middle, it forgets to actually finish its thought. It is a four course meal that forgot the ending cup of coffee and desert. It certainly could be inserted but the writers forgot to follow through. Jenna Fischer fans will be delighted but slightly disappointed that this was not her career defining moment.
The disc itself has excellent video and audio. The extras are kinda thin but this is a small budget release so it looks like they only did the bare essentials. I give this film a mild recommendation, mostly on the merits of the cast and strong start. I just keep waiting for that moment where Laura finally tells Kathy and her mother where to stick it. Chances are the viewer will be screaming for it by the end of the flim. So close, so close.