Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Junkie Run
How that old guy managed to throw each of them out of the VW, I'll never know.

Genre: Drama Comedy

Starring: Abigail Breslin (Signs), Greg Kinnear (Godsend; Stuck on You)

Directed By: Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris (The Jim Rose Circus Sideshow)

Overview: When Olive qualifies for the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant, the family goes on a road trip to get her her crown.


Looking at these directors' names for the first time, I found it strange to see that their list of accomplishments sat in and around music videos and 'Best Of' compilations.  Rather than judging their works on this merit, I was instead reminded of The Proposition, one of my favorite hidden gems last year, which also happened to be directed by a film-unaccomplished music video maker. Much as it was with The Proposition, our directors here also relied on solid talent in the names of Greg Kinnear, Alan Arkin, who won the Best Supporting Oscar for the role, and Steve Carell of The 40 Year Old Virgin and "The Office" fame.  Solid foundation. 
Rating: 8


As is common with LCDF films, we have very professional, well thought out scenes that aren't particularly artistic or especially enticing to the right brain.  What I WAS impressed with was the composition.  There was a constant use of rule-of-thirds and a dynamic style that went beyond mere capture.  Then there's the actual pageant.  *shudder* (the girls, not the cinematography).
Rating: 8


How funny is this comedy? Funny.  How deep is it?  Fluffy.  As expected, we have enough adventure for each character, and oddly enough, each family member seems to hit their streak of character arc crisis right after someone else's is cleared up.  Why, it's almost like it was planned that way!
Rating: 7


Road trip aside, the whole point of the story is to get to a pageant for the family's young sibling and daughter.  Amidst all the problems these people face, we can expect this to be the goal that all strive towards.  I certainly did not expect to find such a scathing commentary as the creepy display shown in the children's beauty pageant.  When you see documentaries about kids who do nothing but prepare themselves for these events, it's eye-opening, but having a film where someone's actually competing against them, black-sheep style? That's nice.
Rating: 8


I'll call it the National Lampoon's Family Vacation for our generation. You have the quirky dysfunctional family without the non-PC Chevy Chase deep hatred and animal abuse. We have the road trip to a destination, as well as a few parallel events to NLFV, including the characterisation of the vehicle that got them there.  I guess the only thing missing was the song immortalized by that first film, "Holiday Road".  
Rating: 8

 Meanin Business
Meanin' Business, pageants are serious work.

Overall Rating: 78% (A Little Ray Of Nice)

We were playing the always-fun "let's decide on a movie" game and as soon as this one popped up in the pile, we all knew it was going to be the one we went home with.  Of late I've been all into serious study films and it's nice to get back into a comedy from time to time.  You won't be disappointed, even if it is a little formulaic. Will be quite well received by the mainstream crowd.

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What about the grandfather dying midway through the movie? One of the strongest points in that film was the family in this hospital waiting room, and Greg Kinnear trying to negotiate with the grief liaison (or whatever her title was) causing her to blurt "You aren't the only one who's had someone die today!" Everyone in the room is silent, and she takes a breath and leads them to the body, closing a curtain behind them and walking away with a completely aloof expression. Then they steal the body and toss it in their van, later hiding it from a cop in one of the film's lighter moments. This review really downplays the dark undertone that the movie had. I mean, Vacation? Seriously?

Well put. I also understated how important the actual social commentary of the pageant was.

Thanks Anonymous! Gimmy yer name next time!

Little Miss Sunshine is smarter than your average comedy, one of my favorite scenes was actually early on, at the dinner table. I thought the way the family was introduced from that static shot was unusual and brilliant.

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