Jenna Fischer (The Office) plays Laura, a dental hygienist who smokes, drinks and is emotionally unavailable to her (probably cheating) husband, Bob (Chris ODonnell). Their 12-year-old son Dennis (nice performance by newcomer Daniel Yelsky) is the introverted nerdy kid at school who's a little overweight and a little too mature for his age.
The family dynamic takes a seismic shift when ol' cheatin' Bob dies (not a spoiler, it's in the trailer) in the middle of a sex act with Laura. Family being family, they decide to intervene and "help" the widowed Laura. This means uprooting Dennis and sending him to a private school. He's tired of blending in and tells a HUGE lie that increases his popularity right along with his chances of getting caught.
It's a precarious position for the newly minted single mom. Making matters worse, Laura's family brings in a malpractice attorney to make amends for the untimely death and secure Laura's financial future. Laura just wants a shot at returning her life to "normal" - she begins dating with disastrous results and to make matters worse, widowhood hasn't improved her parenting skills.
Another complication is Laura's attraction to her brother-in-law (Rob Benedict) a pot-smoking radio exec who's secretly loved her since junior high. Add in an overbearing mother (the always wonderful Lesley Ann Warren,) disconnected father (Ron Liebman) and a bitchy sister (Grey's Anatomy's Brooke Smith) and you've got the recipe for disaster.
A movie with this much going on would be trouble in the hands of a lesser director, but Michael J. Weithorn (creator of King of Queens) doesn't let his ship sink in the morass of this messed up family. In fact, watching them try and dig themselves out is loads of fun and listening to Jakob Dylan's soundtrack while they sort through everything is an added delight.
This is an offbeat story with a not-so-Hollywood ending. If you're up for a voyeuristic ride through the dilemmas of everyday life, then climb on board this film and see how far you can go with A Little Help.