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Little Miss Sunshine

2006 Independent comedy-drama

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Road Trip

  • Feb 2, 2007
  • by
Rating:
+5
"Little Miss Sunshine"

Road Trip

Amos Lassen and Cinema Pride

I love road trip movies and that is just what "Little Miss Sunshine" is. It is a great trip with a lot happening along the way. An unforgettable group of characters is off to watch the crowning of the new Little Miss Sunshine.
Here is a family unlike any family you have seen before. The Hoovers are loveable and dysfunctional and they thrown together to make this road trip at which time they are forced to deal with each other along with a series of setbacks and catastrophes.
The head of the group is Richard Hoover played by Greg Kinnear. He is a motivational speaker whose entire career rests upon the success of a book he has written, speaking engagements and workshops based upon his nine step program. It is not enough that his family is not solid but he deals with career stress as well. He is married to Sheryl (Toni Collette) who struggles to keep the family together while not receiving any help to do so. Richard's father (Alan Arkin) has been kicked out of a nursing home because of drug use and obscenity and he spends most of his time with Olive (Abigail Breslin), seven years old, who is practicing her dance routine for the upcoming beauty pageant. More chaos ensues when Sheryl brings her gay brother (Stephen Carrell) to live with them after he survived an unsuccessful suicide attempt. He is to share a room with his nephew Dwayne (Paul Dano) who has taken a vow of silence and dreams of escaping his family by joining the marines.
Richard feels that the world should be divided into the winners and the losers and he talks to his family about success and failure all of the time. As he waits to hear the news of a possible contract for his work, a call comes to bring Olive to the West Coast for the Little Miss Sunshine Finals. Feeling fragile, he volunteers to drive the family to Renondo Beach and they set off for a three day journey in an old Volkswagen van. On the way there is clutch trouble and this is the catalyst that allows the family now to learn top deal with each other. Some how they manage to achieve a semblance of solidarity.
The cast is perfect and the spirit of rebellion and a smart script make this a wonderful movie. There is a great deal of humanity and heart in the film. It shows that the concept of family is not a perfect machine and it is made up of components that do not necessarily fit and are prone to malfunction. The comic tone is deftly channeled by a cast that knows how to perform. I was amazed by Greg Kinnear's performance and Toni Collette's understated performance is a heart stealer. It is a delightful film that shows how families work (or don't work) and is not your usual movie theater fare.
I love it for its obvious differences.

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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
Amos Lassen ()
Ranked #210
I am an academic who reivews movies and books of interest to the GLBT and Jewish communities.   I came to Arkansas after having been relocated here due to Hurricane Katrina. I was living in … 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, Steve Carell Movies, Alan Arkin Movies, Steve Carell, Paul Dano Movies, Greg Kinnear Movies, Toni Collette Movies, Abigail Breslin Movies, Little Miss Sunshine
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