Movie Name: Little Miss Sunshine
Stars: Toni Collette (mom from 6th Sense), Greg Kinnear (gay dude on As Good As It Gets), Steve Carell (40 year old Virgin), a cute girl named Abigail Breslin (little girl in Signs), newcomer Paul Dano (Girl Next Door) and veteran actor Alan Arkin (Heart Is a Lonely Hunter)
Directed by: Johnathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, a team of directors that did a lot of music videos for stars like Janet Jackson, Paula Abdul, REM and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
What’s it about? A little girl in a family full of odd characters wins a spot in a beauty contest. The family drives 700 miles in a broke down VW bus so she can compete. Dad is a failing motivational speaker who can’t seem to get out of the role. Mom tries to hold the family together but refuses to set boundaries. Uncle tried to commit suicide after being jilted by his male lover. Grandpa snorts heroin and curses a lot. And Brother? Well, he’s taken a vow of silence. For the most part. Will they make it in one piece?
Why you should watch it: This movie is a flat-out charmer, much like Napoleon Dynamite is. Everyone in the main cast acted in their roles perfectly, especially Abigail as Olive, the persistently optimistic little girl. This movie covers just about every emotion you want to have from laughter to tears to outrage. I’m a sucker for character movies where everyone grows and changes believably from beginning to end. And the dance routine at the end ranks only slightly lower than Napoleon Dynamite’s grooves. Heck yah it does! You’ll also learn that little girl pageants are scary, and that parents will do anything to make their kids turn out better than themselves when given a chance.
What sucks about this movie: Some of the transitions seemed a little unbelievable but I guess probable. I don’t want to spoil it, but some of the escape scenes, cop actions, run-ins and driving moves threw me for a loop. Other than that, it’s a great movie and I can see why it was nominated.
DVD features: alternate endings and soundtrack stuff and the usual director’s commentary. The alternate endings are worth viewing. Oh, and you can choose full or wide screen.
Nice Surprise: Abigail and Steve’s performances. She is well worthy of nomination. She was able to convince me of every emotion she portrayed without hamming it, like many young actors are taught to do. And Steve Carell proves that comedy and drama are the same, it’s just all in line delivery.
Overall: Great collector’s movie to watch after a long, hard day slaving over papers and such. I’d keep it for a few days.