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A Little Help Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: R
  • Run Time: 109 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: October 25, 2011
  • List Price: $29.97

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BestBuy.com:
A Little Help - Widescreen Subtitle AC3 Dts

Purchase A Little Help on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:2.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:2.5/5]

When it comes to the U.S. version of The Office, it seems like Steve Carell is the only one who has been able to break out in any fashion and become a true Hollywood leading actor. The other members of the cast have all failed to build on the series’ momentum. Jenna Fischer stars in this latest indie film, A Little Help, and it shows off her dramatic acting skills rather well, but the overall mundanity of the script and characters might not be enough to put her over the top either.

The story revolves around Laura Pehlke (Fischer), whose life is thrown into turmoil when her possibly cheating husband Bob (Chris O’Donnell) dies leaving her in a financial mess. The situation further pushes her 12-year-old son Dennis away. Laura quickly finds herself embroiled in a series of misguided lies, one brought on by her son’s lie at his new school that his father was a fireman who died at the World Trade Center on 9/11 and the other in a malpractice suit she entered into at the urging of her older sister, knowing full well that the claims aren’t quite truthful. All this and a burgeoning friendship (and possibly romance) with her brother-in-law is all too much stress for one woman to handle.

Despite Fischer’s spot-on performance, it is the overwhelming sense of malaise in A Little Help and uneven tone that keep it from rising to another level. Laura is played as an awkward pretty girl who smokes and drinks too much and yells at her kid that he “sucks!” and it’s meant to be quirky, but really comes across as simply problematic. That none of the issues with any of the characters in this film are ever really resolved in the end leaves A Little Help needing a lot of help of its own to make it worthy of a full-on recommendation.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Although A Little Help‘s AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement has good flesh tones and strong color reproduction, the overall quality doesn’t look very filmic. Contrast isn’t great, blacks never get very dark, and there are definitely places where video noise is an issue.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

This dialogue-driven film doesn’t do much to spotlight the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix it has been given. Some mild clipping is apparent in the dialogue and the surround channels have some very low atmospheric effects, but that’s about it.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

While the disc does supply some brief interview segments with the director and cast members this could hardly be considered packed with bonus materials. The only thing outside of these interviews are some TV Spots, the theatrical trailer, and a Jakob Dylan music video.

The supplements:

  • Interviews:
    • Jenna Fischer: Intervention
    • Jenna Fischer: Soda
    • Chris O’Donnell
    • Kim Coates
    • Brooke Smith
    • Rob Benedict
    • Ron Leibman
    • Daniel Yelsky
    • Jim Florentine
    • Michael Weithorn: Dion Dimucci
    • Michael Weithorn: Jakob Dylan
  • Jakob Dylan Music Video
  • TV Spot
  • Trailer

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

Jenna Fischer shines in a realistic performance, but A Little Help falters overall as it lacks an even tone or sense of purpose and feels ultimately unsatisfying.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B005EIHMUE[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
A Little Help - Widescreen Subtitle AC3 Dts

Purchase A Little Help on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:2.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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