Monday, December 25, 2006

Little Miss Sunshine: Grade A

Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Abigail Breslin, Greg Kinnear, Alan Arkin, Toni Colette, Steve Carell. Directors: Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris.

A struggling middle class family in Albuquerque take their 8 year old girl (Abigail Breslin) to California to compete in a talent contest. They all pile in the 70’s era Volkswagen microbus and start a road trip. There is the self-obsessed dad (Kinnear) who is a would-be writer of a motivational book, put-upon mom, sullen teenager, suicidal brother in law (Steve Carell), and Alan Arkin as the crusty old Grandfather. On the road, they eat in a diner, they get stopped by police, the clutch goes out on the car, Grandpa dies, and the horn sticks on the car, letting the directors brilliantly use the nasal, whiney, intermittent sound as an emotional highlight to the drama. The dialog is perfect, photography and sets exceptional, and the acting is enjoyably convincing. What makes this movie more than just a heartwarming family-on-a-road trip comedy is the scathing satire of beauty/talent contests for young girls. The ending brilliantly, wittily and deservedly scorches that pernicious world, raising a good, low-budget film up to a great film.


  1. Thanks for the tip. I changed the review. The actor, Annie Breslin, is 12 years old, but the character, Olive, is only 8.