Laura knocks back a couple of Budweisers every day. Not that she is a drunk per se, but she needs a buzz just to get her through her day. She has a husband who is cheating on her with his secretary, a lying little brat of a son, a highly-critical nit-picking mother, a father who never stops talking about his brush with fame as an ex-sportscaster, and an over-bearing older sister who bears a grudge because she is not at pretty as Laura.
They all seem to collude to pick on Laura even after her philandering husband suddenly drops down dead in their driveway. Everybody is unfairly ashamed on this hard-working New Jersey dental hygienist who is simply trying to make the best of the poor pack of cards she has been dealt with. Her son only too aware that his father’s death had been aggravated by the fact that he had just been confronted about his affair, tells a whopper of a lie when confronted with questions from his schoolmates. He claims that his real real estate broker father was actually a fireman who died in the 9/11 tragedy the previous year and the news instantly makes him the most popular boy in his class.
Laura’s relationship with her son is fraught at best, so she goes along with the lie, and even attends a special 9/11 Memorial Service at his school. When he is inevitably found out, it is she that has the strength to get him out of the tangled web of deceit that he has created, which bonds them together at last.
Until then, there are only two men in her family she can stand: her nephew who uses his garage band as an excuse to avoid his controlling mother, and her rather handsome brother in law. One of the most tender moments of this wee movie is when Warren confesses that to Laura that he had always been in love with her, and only married her sister so that he could be near her.
This rather touching little movie seems to have been made as a starring vehicle for a talented Jenna Fisher, who is usually seen in Steve Carrol’s shadows on ‘The Office’. And she puts in an excellent performance as a woman who just didn’t want to deal with the reality of a life that seems to have been chosen for her by everyone else.
Don’t expect any dramatic revelations at the end, as there aren’t any. And neither is there a great moral message other than beyond just simply be open and enjoy what you’ve got, and avoid your relatives at all costs. And maybe, ease up on the Budweisers too, it’s not really ‘the little help’ any of us need. Or is it?