Family matters

July 21, 2006

Little Miss Sunshine (

Little Miss Sunshine

The dysfunctional family. We’ve seen this before many a time. Sometimes it works a la “Arrested Development” and sometimes it don’t (all that Disney Channel crap). “Little Miss Sunshine” deals with the Hoover family. They’re kind of messed up, check it out:


“No one among the Hoovers quite has it together, but it’s not for lack of trying. Father Richard (GREG KINNEAR), a hopelessly optimistic motivational speaker, is desperately attempting to sell his 9-step program for success — without much success. Meanwhile, the Hoovers’ “pro-honesty” mother Sheryl (TONI COLLETTE) is constantly harried by her family’s eccentric secrets, especially those of her brother (STEVE CARELL), a gay suicidal Proust scholar fresh out of the hospital after being jilted by his gay lover. Then there are the younger Hoovers with their unlikely dreams – the four-eyed, slightly plump, seven year-old would-be beauty queen Olive (ABIGAIL BRESLIN) and Dwayne (PAUL DANO), an anger-fueled, Nietzsche-reading teen who has taken a staunch vow of silence until he gets into the Air Force Academy. Topping off the family is the grandfather (ALAN ARKIN), a foul-mouthed pleasure-seeker recently kicked out of his retirement home for snorting heroin.”

So that’s a fun bunch. Anyways, the family is united on a road trip as daughter Olive is elligible to compete in California’s Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant. Suffice to say, a lot of problems occur during their trip. Some of the characters have to face their inner demons and all of the characters have to cope with each other. Additional problems such as car trouble, police, and necessary stops cause the family to unite and bond over their separate and shared obstacles.

“Little Miss Sunshine” is sweet, quirky, and very funny. I felt it only faltered when each stop along trip began to feel like an excuse to address one family member’s problems. This culminates in the teenage son’s tantrum as he calls out each family member, stating each character’s problem loudly (as if we didn’t know).

All this aside, “Little Miss Sunshine” is very funny and has a big heart. My criticisms of the movie are minor, and I recommend you see this film. It’s not out yet, though. Believe it or not, this is a SPECIAL LOOK at this film before its release! I saw the movie at a free screening – it comes out next friday July 28th. Check out the website above and maybe you can catch a screening in your area too.

3.5 or 4 nutty family members out of 5

Next time: Time to play catch up


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