Lazy Susan – Sean Hayes comes out shining, post Will & Grace
As Will & Grace bid viewers goodbye last month (for a second time), the cast have now gone their separate ways (once again). As we wait to see what the four-some get up to, and some might hope for a Jack & Karen spin-off, Sean Hayes leaves Jack behind and comes out as Susan, in a new comedy feature that he also co-wrote. Toronto even gets mentioned a couple times when the family plans a trip to Niagara Falls.
A slice-of-life comedy about a woman on the edge with nowhere to go but over, Lazy Susan is a story about a spectacularly unmotivated woman for whom doing nothing is exhausting. Susan has always been the self-centered oddball in her family, who lazily skated through life with their grudging support until one day she wakes up to realize she’s middle-aged with no job, no relationship, and an increasingly estranged family. She finally decides to take charge and turn things around, but never having done anything herself before, the struggle is real (and hilarious) as Susan becomes the woman she always wanted to be, all on her own.
Susan O’Connell (Sean Hayes) is a woman in her 40s with no job or ambition, and has been financially dependent on her family for her whole life. She chronically sleeps past noon and does nothing but make collages all day long. Susan must regularly ask for rent money from her mother, Mary. Susan’s brother Cameron and his wife Wendy both despise that Susan burdens Mary, who is single and in poor health; it is mentioned that Mary’s husband abandoned the family when Susan and Cameron were young. Susan’s only friends are Corrine, who is married with children, and Cameron and Wendy’s young daughter Jenika, who admires Susan’s artistic abilities.
Susan frequently either lies to others about her job status or sensationalizes reasons why she cannot work. She has an ongoing rivalry with Velvet Swensen, a former high school classmate who works at the local K-Mart that Susan frequents. Each woman brags to the other about her accomplishments, but while Susan’s are all fabricated, it is implied that Velvet’s are real.
One day Susan is rear-ended while paused at a stop sign. She finds that the man who hit her car is Phil, a member of her gym to whom she is attracted. Phil and Susan flirt with each other, and the two begin dating. Susan quickly defaults to her typical modus operandi of mooching off of others, and relies on Phil to support her financially. Phil generously showers her with clothes and gifts. Susan brags to her family and Velvet about Phil, whom she believes is the only promising thing in her life, and begins planning her future around him.
Corrine tells Susan about a talent contest hosted by a local radio station; there is a large cash prize for the winning act. Putting together a ukulele-and-flute duo called Uku-Lady and the Tramp, the two begin practicing for the contest. Cameron and Wendy meanwhile announce plans to take Mary and Jenika on a family vacation to Niagara Falls. Cameron flatly tells Susan that she must pay her own way if she wants to come, as he is tired of supporting her.
Susan approaches Phil for money to finance the Niagara Falls trip, and asks him to meet her family prior to going. When he is a no-show at the family meeting and subsequently doesn’t answer his phone, she shows up at the trampoline park he owns, only to find out that he has a wife and children.
Susan is devastated to learn the truth about Phil, and her already-unstable life quickly falls apart. She is unable to go on the Niagara Falls trip and instead sees family photos, posted on Facebook, of everyone having fun without her. Despondent, she gets drunk on the evening of the talent contest and spends the night defacing one of Phil’s billboards. Without Susan to accompany her, Corrine quickly bombs their act at the talent show and is publicly humiliated. Susan, meanwhile, is arrested for public intoxication and vandalism, and sent to jail; her arrest is televised. An anonymous person bails her out later that evening, but she returns home only to find that she has been evicted from her house after repeatedly failing to pay rent.
A kindly neighbor, Leon, takes Susan in, but once again Susan lapses into laziness and mooching. Leon, who is diabetic, has a hypoglycemic attack due to Susan refusing his request to locate his medicine — simply so that she could sleep in late — and is hospitalized. Susan meekly visits Leon in the hospital and Leon forgives her for the accident. Leon’s act of compassion makes Susan finally realize she has self-worth, and that she can only rely on herself to better her circumstances.
Motivated by this, Susan begins to piece her life back together. She politely tells off her family for making her feel ignored and invalidated as a child after her father left. She sets her alarm for 8am and begins waking up earlier regularly. She apologizes to Corrine for the talent show disaster by offering to help with Corrine’s children free of charge. Lastly, she swallows her pride and applies for a job at K-Mart, which means working directly under Velvet.
During her interview with Velvet, Susan finally lets down her walls and pretenses, and humbly admits that she was always jealous of Velvet’s beauty and popularity while they were in high school together. Velvet then lets down her own defenses and admits that she was the one who bailed Susan out of jail. Velvet reveals that she had her own negative dating experience with Phil years prior and, knowing that he was a liar and a cheater, felt bad that Susan was being used just as she had been.
Susan offers to repay Velvet for the bail money — the first time in her life she has ever offered to repay money to anyone — but Velvet politely declines, saying it was “money well spent.” The film ends with Susan proudly getting dressed in her K-Mart uniform to start the next chapter of her life.
The film features an all-star cast that includes Emmy Award winner Sean Hayes (Will & Grace), Carrie Aizley (Transparent), Emmy Award winner Margo Martindale, Academy Award® winner Jim Rash (Community), Darlene Hunt (I Heart Huckabees), with Academy Award winner Allison Janney (I, Tonya), and Tony Award winner Matthew Broderick (The Producers).
The film is also currently available on all major VOD platforms. Making its Blu-ray and DVD debut May 12th, that also includes a number of bonus features, including an audio commentary with Sean Hayes, Darlene Hunt and Carrie Aizley, an audio commentary with director Nick Peet, and the featurette Lazy Susan – Creating an Underdog. Fans can pre-order their copies now by visiting ShoutFactory.com
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.