Metascore
54

Mixed or average reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 21
  2. Negative: 2 out of 21
  1. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Jul 27, 2011
    88
    It's manipulative, yes, but clever and persuasive in its manipulations.
  2. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Jul 22, 2011
    88
    File this one in the same category of edgy Long Island comedies as the equally smart 2009 Alec Baldwin film "Lymelife."
  3. Reviewed by: Calvin Wilson
    Jul 28, 2011
    75
    Smith turns in a subtly layered performance that suggests the hurt behind Kathy's callousness. And O'Donnell gets to the heart of a man who realizes too late that he's made unfortunate choices.
  4. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Jul 28, 2011
    75
    This is one of the smarter, more honest scripts to be filmed in quite some time. And Jenna Fischer, star of "The Office," gives one of the smarter, more honest - and vulnerable, and tough - performances by an actress on the big screen in an even longer stretch.
  5. Reviewed by: Keith Staskiewicz
    Jul 20, 2011
    67
    Fischer's performance is sweet and subtle, but the film can be so understated in tone and plot that it's hard to tell if it's actually saying anything.
  6. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Jul 28, 2011
    63
    A Little Help settles for familiar and modest payoffs. It's not much. Yet Fischer clearly relishes the chance to play someone who's a demurely reckless mess.
  7. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Jul 23, 2011
    60
    A Little Help is worth watching, mostly for Fischer.
  8. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Jul 22, 2011
    60
    Weithorn, a sitcom vet whose credits include "Ned and Stacey" and "The King of Queens," makes sure even the quiet moments in the unassuming "A Little Help" move things forward. And that every one of Laura's missteps is in the right direction.
  9. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    Jul 21, 2011
    60
    What writer-director Michael J. Weithorn, a sitcom vet, gets right is the Long Island vibe, the New York smarts crossed with small-town insularity. If the film takes too long to reach its rather soft denouement, Fischer makes Laura's awakening convincing.
  10. Reviewed by: Jeannette Catsoulis
    Jul 21, 2011
    60
    Though the enjoyable prickliness of the film's early scenes soon dissolves into cozy solutions, a sturdy supporting cast - even Ron Leibman's scenery-chewing turn as Laura's blowhard father is more amusing than annoying - balances the scales.
  11. Reviewed by: Pete Hammond
    Jul 18, 2011
    60
    A highly entertaining and richly human movie experience with a gem of a performance from Jenna Fischer.
  12. Reviewed by: Nathan Rabin
    Jul 21, 2011
    58
    It's difficult to figure out exactly where the film might be heading at any given point, since it follows the loping, meandering rhythms and casualness of a character study rather than conforming to the conventions of any particular genre.
  13. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    Jul 28, 2011
    50
    Some of the film is imaginatively put together. But the melodrama feels forced - manipulated by filmmakers hell-bent on teaching its main character a lesson or two about life and the need to seize it.
  14. Reviewed by: Frank Scheck
    Jul 21, 2011
    50
    Ultimately, the film is best appreciated as a welcome big-screen starring vehicle for Fischer, who expertly navigates the comedic and dramatic demands of a role that keeps her onscreen for virtually the entire running time.
  15. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Jul 20, 2011
    50
    The movie wants to be an exploration of family ties and the various ways in which the people we love respond in times of crisis, but the drama is unconvincing, the characters are ill-defined, and Fischer, so good on The Office, seems a bit incomplete without Jim at her side.
  16. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Jul 19, 2011
    50
    A benign slice of life about suburban angst on Long Island. It's not much, but thanks to the noble efforts of a very good cast, I've seen worse.
  17. Reviewed by: Aaron Hillis
    Jul 19, 2011
    40
    The film is as average and forgettable.
  18. Reviewed by: David Fear
    Jul 19, 2011
    40
    While Fischer handles every emotional curveball, she's not helped by the film's reliance on rote notions of piecing your life back together. Is it worth putting a good actor through the screen-martyrdom wringer for a minuscule payoff?
  19. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    Jul 18, 2011
    40
    This tale of a Long Island dental hygienist dealing with various family crises is likable enough, but never really distinctive in character delineation, tone, atmosphere or plotting.
  20. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    Jul 18, 2011
    38
    Michael J. Weithorn's direction underlined its understatement via self-consciously patient camerawork and a doleful score, all in order to further the mournful mood.
  21. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Jul 28, 2011
    25
    It's not that Jenna Fischer is miscast in A Little Help. It's that she's mis-everything else: misused, misdirected, misanthropic.
User Score
4.8

Mixed or average reviews- based on 4 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 1 out of 2
  1. Sep 1, 2014
    2
    Jenna Fischer is a wonderful actress. Nevertheless, A Little Help is a tad bit too depressing for the girl we know and love from The Office. There's little purpose surrounding the near-constant depression of the flick--how is that entertaining? Full Review »
  2. Nov 28, 2011
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. Started slow but built up some steam. Dialogue is spot on, making me remember things I wished I had and had not done. The LIE is the biggest parking lot in the US. Mom & son (Fischer & Yelsky) acted perfectly although other characters a bit over the top. I was rooting for this little family to make it; the ending makes me hope they do. O'Donnell role silly and poorly done but I guess they wanted a name to help promote the film. Warren looks great, though underused, but smartly. Liebman looks ill. Smith character a stereotype but makes the point. Lastly Paul, (Benedict) is the dad I tried to be, with the same misgivings about my youth. Well worth a look. Full Review »