I agree J., because I also feel very comfortable in commenting about the movie, if only in part because I've followed the oft given advice of reviewers as to other films not deemed very worthy of attendance: if you've seen the preview, you've actually seen the best scenes so you don't have to bother seeing the movie. In The Help's case, I was so turned off by the previews with their over the top screams and jumping up and down and phony look of the white characters plus what appeared to be treacly sentimentality that I couldn't imagine sitting through it.
The MSNBC review mentioning "loves" of fried chicken was more than enough warning.
Perhaps when the DVD comes out, I could see it at home and fast forward scenes, but what's the point? Even if the church gospel music and newsreel type footage on civil rights added to the book, as it appeared to do, and even if the scenes leading up to the preview punch lines were more nuanced that it appeared, I've seen enough. I know the premise and heartily agree with the caustic comment on Jon Stewart's show: Aren't white people amazing?
I don't want to see a "feel good" movie about this subject, regardless of how good Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer are--and I've heard they're excellent. After actor Wendell Pierce posted his less than favorable comments about the movie, particularly his mother's angry reaction to it, he took pains to go back and say he thought it was "well made." He said that Davis and Spencer and some of the other black actors are his friends. He said he's happy of course that they have an opportunity to show their acting abilities, even though he found the movie less than admirable.