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Little Miss Sunshine

2006 Independent comedy-drama

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The Missing Love

  • Dec 20, 2006
  • by
Rating:
+3
Just like 'The Squid and the Whale' and 'The Royal Tenenbaums' before it, 'Little Miss Sunshine' is a quirky, comedy masterpiece about a dysfunctional family and their quests for love and greatness. The father (Greg Kinnear) is a motivational speaker who echoes Ricky Bobby's dad in 'Talledega Nights'. ("If you're not a winner, then you're a loser.") He is an angry and frustrated patriarch who has difficulty living up to his own advice. He's overbearing even with his understanding, loving wife (Toni Collette of 'Sixth Sense' fame), and his family shows that not only success, but love is missing in the family equation.

The grandfather (Adam Arkin) is a foul-mouthed heroin addict who, unlike his son, shoots straight from the hip. His teenage son, Duane, is a goth silent type who only communicates with a notepad. His brother, and their uncle, is gay and has just attempted suicide before living with the family, interestingly enough sharing Duane's bedroom where they can have heart-to-heart talks. The daughter (Abigail Breslin) is sweet, perceptive, and charming. She's an arm for the family ego, so she is a candidate for "Little Miss Sunshine," a nauseatingly glamorous child beauty contest taking place in California.

Many mishaps come along the way as the whole family goes from Arizona to the Redondo Beach contest in an aging Volkswagon van. The grandfather has a lot to say on the journey, including a shaking piece of wisdom for his granddaughter the night before the contest. Having the pre-contest jitters, she hears her grandfather say, "A real loser is someone who is so afraid of losing, they're afraid to try." The uncle also has much wisdom, including some advice to Duane about suffering that he seems to need and hear for himself in the same meeting. With the admonition that our society has a low tolerance for failure, and the wit and laughter to set us all straight, 'Little Miss Sunshine' remains a sage and funny family satire. (It is rated 'R,' so the laughs may be only for those family members at your discretion--mainly for a lot of profanity.)

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More Little Miss Sunshine reviews
review by . May 12, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Lil' Miss Can't Be Wrong
Every year the box offices around the world have at least one movie which surprisingly will earn a killing & leave me completely baffled. OK, that's too broad. Let me try again. The film will definitely rack up at the box offices but the film is somewhat of an indie fave. Does that help any? These films aren't especially bad  & could actually be enjoyable films on any given day but..just don't seem to be anything really special overall & I  don't get the mass hype surrounding …
Quick Tip by . June 15, 2010
Favorite!
review by . December 08, 2008
In the past few years, there has been an onslaught of adorable, indie films. Some of them I have loved. Some of them I've disliked -- mostly because I find them too precious, too strategically quirky and "unconventional." In many senses, Little Miss Sunshine falls into both categories. It is both a wonderfully charming film, full of soul and vitality. But it sometimes falls into some of the quirkier-than-thou cliches, which is what prevented me from giving a higher score. But I liked it -- period. …
review by . February 11, 2009
DVD
This very funny comedy concerns Olive, a sweet little seven-year old who wants to compete in the Little Miss Sunshine pageant in California. She lives with her eccentric family in New Mexico, so the whole brood piles into the old VW bus for a road trip, and there's never a dull moment. Her father (Greg Kinnear) is a failed motivational speaker, her grandfather (Alan Arkin) is a trouble-making curmudgeon, her uncle (Steve Carell) is suicidal, her mother (Toni Collette) is always screaming, and her …
review by . June 03, 2008
Little Olive just wants to enter the Little Miss Sunshine Pageant. Her parents are going to take her there. Run-of-the-mill family road trip, right? What could possibly go wrong? Add into the mix a suicidal uncle, a brother who's taken the vow of silence, and a grandfather who was kicked out of a retirement home for snorting heroin, and you've got the perfect recipe for unpredictable disaster that's anything but ordinary.  This is one of those movies where outrageous and consequently hilarious …
review by . November 01, 2008
Six people in a mini-bus   Driving from Albuquerque   These folk are so dysfunctional   They're way past being "quirky"     Dad's nine steps are faltering   Mom's just tired and stressed   Granddad's snorting heroin   While Uncle is depressed     Brother's chosen to be mute   His family gets him down   Olive only wants a chance   To win a pageant crown     Trouble …
review by . June 10, 2008
Despite its somewhat quirky story line, Little Miss Sunshine is not only great to watch, but is something that one can easily relate to. Unlike your typical movie that paints the picture of the perfect American family, Little Miss Sunshine shows the more realistic side of the typical family dichotomy--financial worries, care of elderly relatives, depression, and dreams deferred.The movie provides a funny, albeit exaggerated, perspective on the things that bind us together even when life is not going …
review by . May 05, 2008
Pros: Wonderful ensemble cast. Well acted. Alan Arkin's lines.     Cons: Drags in a couple of spots. Alan Arkin's lines.     The Bottom Line: Strange and wonderful, well acted and unique. I've never seen anything like it. I have seen it at least six times and I love it more for repeat watching.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot. "You don't speak because of Frederic Nietzsche? (pause) Cool." One …
review by . May 24, 2007
When I first saw this film, I was mightily disapointed. It had been pushed as a comedy, so I expected to, you know, laugh. I didn't. Well, not until the pagent scene. The look on Greg Kinnear's face was priceless, and pretty well summed-up my view of such pagents.    But I could tell there was something good in this movie, so about a month later I watched it again, and was much happier. The performances by the entire cast were wonderful, particularly Alan Arkin. I was also pleased …
review by . April 04, 2007
I saw this with a group of friends who didn't know much about the film. After about 30 minutes, one of them commented, "Is this suppose to be a comedy?" That's pretty much the feeling for the first half of the film, but once the characters are established, the viewer is set up for one of the most charming displays of a family bonding ever in a film.    The family is extremely messed up. It felt like we were visiting a home where we were seeing things that we shouldn't be seeing. …
About the reviewer
John L. Peterson ()
Ranked #99
I am a substitute teacher who enjoysonline reviewing. Skiing is my favorite pastime; weight training and health are my obsessions;and music and movies feed my psyche. Books are a treasure and a pleasure … more
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Little Miss Sunshine is a comedy-drama about a dysfunctional family's road trip to a children's beauty pageant. The film won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Feature and starred Greg Kinnear, Steve Carrell, Toni Collette, Paul Dano, Abigail Breslin, and Alan Arkin.
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Movies, Comedy Movies, Indie Movies, Alan Arkin Movies, Steve Carell Movies, Steve Carell, Paul Dano Movies, Greg Kinnear Movies, Toni Collette Movies, Abigail Breslin Movies, Little Miss Sunshine
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