Little Miss Sunshine Is Warm and Fuzzy

Little Miss Sunshine is a lovely little film that will undoubtedly bring a smile tolittlemisssunshine_p.jpg your face. From the very first moment when you see a 9 year old girl watching a beauty pageant, you know this movie is about dreams and desires. And by the second scene where a failed suicide victim is forced to room with a 15 year-old teenage boy who’s refuses to speak and writes “Please don’t kill yourself. Welcome to Hell” on his notepad before turning out the light, you know that most characters will be fairly eccentric and their dreams will be revealed, dealt with, shattered and reassembled by the end of the film.

Throughout the movie we are introduced to all six family members and their respective dreams. One wants to be in the Air Force, another to sell a self-help book, another to do drugs and have sex with as many people as possible before he dies, and so on and so forth. With each character’s dreams on display and with 6 characters, that’s a lot of storytelling. Thankfully, each story is fairly entertaining and well acted – each actor absolutely nails their scenes.

All the characters are interesting, but none of them are extremely captivating (except Arkin) so works that there is no main character and we can jump from one storyline to the next. Ultimately we realize that each character’s dream is a great setup for some good comedy and not much else.

I believe the movie dreams to be nothing else other than quirky and really funny. Towards this goal, it completely succeeds. The movie does not have much depth nor will resonate very long. It is like a beautiful summer day of sunshine – great to experience and fun to enjoy if you have the time, but not necessarily memorable.

Overall: 8 out of 10

Some notes:

  • The film is very similar to Chevy Chase’s National Lampoon’s Vacation. Both are about a family roadtrip where generations, siblings and ambitions are thrown into a “family trickster” and shaken up. Grandma in Vacation and Grandpa in Sunshine serve a similar purpose and Greg Kinnear does a good job playing the Clarke Griswold roll – especially when things start going south. Luckily though, this movie does not hinge on Greg Kinnear’s performance the way Vacation relied on Chevy. No, this movie relies on the complete ensemble and they flat out deliver.
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    My one complaint is the development on Kinnear’s character. Throughout most of the movie he is selfish, patronizing and oblivious. Come the end of the movie, his 180 U-turn seems unbelievable. However, the climax was heart-warming enough that I was easily able to gloss over this issue

(this is also posted at the movie site:

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