REVIEW: Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

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REVIEW: Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Postby Xolture » Sat Feb 19, 2011 1:09 pm

Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
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If you have ever attended a family reunion or sat down at an extended family holiday dinner and thought to yourself "Who are these people? How could I possibly be related to them?" -- then you will probably appreciate the hilarious and poignant indie film "Little Miss Sunshine."

Richard (Greg Kinnear) is the head of a mostly dysfunctional family and the author of a multi-step/self-help program that he espouses with the passion of a zealot. Sheryl (Toni Collette) is Richard's wife and arguably the most normal and high-functioning member of the family. Their son, Dwayne (Paul Dano), is a nihilistic and remote 15-year-old, who has either stopped speaking to his family because he can't stand them or taken a vow of silence to achieve a personal goal - depending on who is explaining his behavior. Olive (Abigail Breslin) is the family's bright and effervescent 7-year-old, who is already starting to pick up some of the family's more unhealthy tics of criticism and self-doubt. Grandpa (Alan Arkin) is Richard's acerbic and outspoken father who was booted out of his retirement home for snorting heroin. Add to this murky Freudian soup Sheryl's brother, Frank (a wonderfully restrained Steve Carell), who is newly released from the hospital after a failed suicide attempt.

When a message is left on the family's phone machine notifying them of Olive's acceptance into the semi-finals of the Little Miss Sunshine talent competition in California, they decide to (mostly) put aside their personal agendas and take Olive to the pageant. The combustible road trip is fueled by the radically different personalities bumping up against each other within the close confines of a VW bus and exacerbated by a variety of obstacles thrown at them in what seems to be a cosmic conspiracy designed to prevent the family from reaching the competition.

When the family finally does arrive at the pageant, the weirdness well and truly begins. Now I am someone who really loves a good horror story, but the 6 and 7 year old contestants were far scarier than anything you might see in a George Romero movie. I will take flesh melting zombies over little girls in full theatrical makeup and provocative costumes (that just screamed "JonBenet Ramsey") any day. The whole pageant atmosphere was Fellini-esque and completely cringe-inducing. When Olive is finally called upon to do her performance piece for the audience (a real show stopper which I won't spoil by detailing), she is actually the most wholesome and entertaining part of the whole pageant.

Although this family bickers with one another almost constantly, they manage to close ranks and support each other when it truly counts. Part of the pleasure of watching this film was the talented cast, who looked like they were really enjoying themselves. A wonderful way to spend 90 minutes -- and you will probably come away with a deeper appreciation of your own family.
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Re: REVIEW: Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Postby wq123 » Thu Jun 22, 2017 5:28 am

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Re: REVIEW: Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

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