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 is a middle-aged woman with no job or ambition. She has sponged off of her family for her entire life. She only has one friend and does nothing all day long but make collages. When a man from the gym rear-ends her car, they start dating, but she finds out he’s married and gets depressed.
Meanwhile, her family cuts her off financially. She gets revenge on the man she dated by defacing a billboard for his business but gets arrested and accidentally bails on her friend for an important event. She gets evicted for not paying rent. A kindly neighbor takes her in, but he has an accident and is hospitalized. His act of compassion makes Susan realize she has self-worth, and she makes amends with various people in her life and gets a job.
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.
Susan (Hayes) is a middle-aged woman living on unemployment in a small apartment in rural America. Her only hobby is creating collages out of magazine clippings, and we see ones pasted all over the walls where she lives. She is too cheap to buy her own magazines, so she steals them from her neighbor’s mailboxes. She wakes up one morning (after hitting the snooze button for several hours) and sees a pair of cowboy boots on TV that she admires. She eventually leaves home, and her neighbor Leon, who uses crutches to walk, asks if she wants to hear a joke, but she declines and lies, saying she’s late for work at a florist’s shop.
While in her car, she gets a call from her brother Cameron (Kennedy), who reminds her it is her mother’s (Martindale) birthday. Susan asks him to put her name on his gift, and he refuses. She goes to the gym and half-heartedly works out alongside her best friend Corrin (Aizley), showing her a picture of the boots she admires. Phil (Rash) comes over to them and hits on Susan, who is oblivious until Corrin points it out.
Susan then head’s to her mom’s house and asks to borrow money for rent, which her mom reluctantly provides. Susan then takes the money to Kmart to go shopping, where she runs into Velvet (Jannet,) an old rival from high school. The two one-up each other with bragging about their life accomplishments, though everything Susan says is a lie. Susan spends $100 on a pair of cowboy boots. When she gets home, she finds someone has finished the laundry she left in the community laundry room and left it on her doorstep with a note.
The next day Susan’s family gets together for her mother’s birthday. Susan gives her mom a collage, but her brother announces he has bought everyone (excluding Susan) tickets to go to Niagara Falls. He says Susan can come if she pays her own way, which Susan is offended by. She storms off. While driving home, Susan’s landlord (Broderick) calls and says her rent was $50 short, plus a $15 late fee. Suddenly she is rear-ended. It turns out to be Phil from the gym, and they flirt again. He agrees to come by her apartment later to give her cash for the damages. Later that night, Corrin and Susan rehearse their cover of “Blister in the Sun” on flute and ukulele.
When Phil comes over to see Susan, it turns into a lengthy date over dinner. He takes her to see his trampoline park where they bounce together until Susan gets sick and vomits. Phil doesn’t care, and the two begin to date. Some weeks later, Phil and Susan go to Kmart where they run into Velvet. Velvet and Susan again try to one-up each other except this time Susan is telling the truth when she says Phil is her boyfriend. Velvet doesn’t believe her, and they argue a bit. Phil buys everything Susan wants at the store, and he gives her a diamond necklace. She invites him to meet her family at her niece’s first communion ceremony. She reveals she can’t afford to go on her family trip. Phil offers to pay for the trip and agrees to attend communion.
Corrin tells Susan about a talent show sponsored by the local radio station, and Susan agrees to perform their “Blister in the Sun” cover. That weekend Phil doesn’t show up at communion, and Susan’s family assumes he isn’t real. She leaves him numerous voicemail messages. Later he texts back saying there was a work emergency, so she goes to his work to surprise him and discovers he has a wife and children. That night while rehearsing with Corrin, she breaks down and confesses what happened.
Susan gets a call from her landlord about rent again. She takes the diamond necklace to a pawn shop where she is told they are moissanite and only worth $250. Instead of spending that money on rent, Susan buys a one-way ticket to Niagara Falls. She shows up at her mom’s house in time to join the family trip, saying she’ll figure out a way to get home. They point out she doesn’t have a passport, and she angrily drops them off at the airport. She falls into a deep depression.
On the night of the talent show, Susan spots a new billboard for Phil’s trampoline business expansion. She gets drunk and defaces the billboard to read “Phil-anderer.” She gets arrested, leaving Corrin to bomb at the show. The arrest is shown on the news, and Velvet sees. Someone anonymous bails Susan out, and she goes home to discover she has been evicted and her belongings are outside. Leon sees her trying to crawl through the window and confesses he is the one who has been doing and folding her laundry. Susan has sex with him, primarily, so she has somewhere to sleep for the night.
In the morning, Leon asks her to get something out of his car, but she’s too lazy. He goes outside himself and collapses from low blood sugar. He is hospitalized, but Susan doesn’t know because she is too lazy to find out where he went. When Susan finally wakes up, she calls Corrin, who doesn’t want to speak. The landlord shows up because he was Leon’s emergency contact, and Susan rushes to the hospital. She realizes Leon was kind to her from the start for no other reason than because he’s a kind person with no ulterior motive.
It turns out Leon’s attending nurse is Cameron, who accuses Susan of using Leon and not caring. They fight, and Susan calls her family “fucking retarded,” not knowing they are standing behind her because they had come to the hospital for lunch. Susan confronts her family, particularly her mother, and confesses that she has been lazy and had no ambition, but points out that her mother always favored her brother and never gave her any support or confidence in life, and that she loves them.
While driving Leon home, he says he feels lightheaded. Susan stops off at the trampoline park and jumps behind the counter, taking anything she wants, including snacks and soda for Leon and a stack of gift cards to the park. She takes the cards to Corrin as an apology and helps Corrin take care of her children for the afternoon as a sign of willingness to help and not be lazy.
Later Susan goes to apply for a job at Kmart, where Velvet interviews her. The two hash out their differences. Velvet confesses it was she who bailed Susan out of jail because she had previously dated Phil after he rear-ended her car but got vibes that he was a creep. Velvet gives a job to Susan, and the two make amends. Later Susan heads out for a day at work, exhibiting signs of confidence and a feeling of self-worth at her new outlook on life. Getting into her car to get to work on time, she turns the ignition, and it won’t start, to which she responds: “Seriously?