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Little Miss Sunshine

Little Miss Sunshine
Abigail Breslin

Abigail Breslin

Screen Time: 80%
Role: Olive Hoover
Age: 9 years old

 

Little Miss Sunshine

2006
Rating: 7.33 (6 votes)
Directed: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Country: USA
Language: English
Genre: Adventure, Comedy
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0449059

Summary

Olive is a little girl with a dream: winning the Little Miss Sunshine contest. Her family wants her dream to come true, but they are so burdened with their own quirks, neuroses, and problems that they can barely make it through a day without some disaster befalling them. Olive's father Richard is a flop as a motivational speaker, and is barely on speaking terms with her mother. Olive's uncle Frank, a renowned Proust scholar, has attempted suicide following an unsuccessful romance with a male graduate student. Her brother Dwayne, a fanatical follower of Nietzsche, has taken a vow of silence, which allows him to escape somewhat from the family whose very presence torments him. And Olive's grandfather is a ne'er-do-well with a drug habit, but at least he enthusiastically coaches Olive in her contest talent routine. Circumstances conspire to put the entire family on the road together with the goal of getting Olive to the Little Miss Sunshine contest in far off California.

Movie Reviews

The family road trip story is about as new in Hollywood as the moving picture, but “Little Miss Sunshine,” the smash hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, rings nothing of the standard “Vacation” fare.

      “Sunshine” is about Olive (Abigail Breslin), a young girl with dreams of beauty queendom, who wins a spot in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant. Her mother (Toni Collette), Dr. Phil-wannabe father (Greg Kinnear), self-decided mute brother (Paul Dano), drug-addicted, retirement home-exhiled grandfather (Alan Arkin) and suicidal uncle (Steve Carell) all pile into the beat-up family Volkswagen minibus for the long trip from Albuquerque, N.M. to Redondo Beach, Calif. to make Olive’s dream a reality.

      For the life of me I can’t think of another family movie so unsuitable for family viewing. “Sunshine” is as profane as it is outrageous, but at its heart, it’s a delightful and ultimately touching family story.

      The screenplay, the first of many (hopefully) by Michael Arndt, is fantastic. His characters are flawed, but even at their lowest points they ring true to the reality of human imperfection.
Kinnear’s character is simultaneously annoying and bemusing, and Arkin’s character probably belongs in jail, yet for both, at some point in the movie, they are absolutely endeared to the audience. The screenplay is laugh out loud funny, yet it possesses a subtlety that isn’t found in mainstream Hollywood.

      Carell’s character is gay, but at no point is he the flamboyant stereotype that so often appears in films. There are no cheap jokes or common gags in “Little Miss Sunshine,” and even when the story seems headed for downtrodden comedic ground (the creepy pedophile in the child beauty pageant audience), Arndt takes it in a new and interesting direction.

      The family’s yellow Volkswagen minibus not only provides the setting for most of the movie but is also the source of some of its best humor. Between a clutch that won’t go to first or second gear and a horn that sounds like it’s constantly signaling off Morse code, first time directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris give the van enough personality to qualify it as the last (and not even the most dysfunctional) member of the family.

      To match its colorful cast of characters, “Sunshine” has an equally entertaining and talented group of actors. Kinnear’s performance is one of the best of his career; he’s at his best when he’s playing an everyman, and Frank Hoover perfectly fits that profile.
Carell’s first shot at a more dramatic role captures the intensity of Bill Murray (whom the role was originally written for) while maintaining the charisma and sentiment that made him so lovable in “The 40 Year-Old Virgin.”

     Toni Collette’s performance is admirable, Paul Dano continues to build on his reputation as a terrific young actor, Abigail Breslin could become the next Dakota Fanning and Alan Arkin was born to play this dirty-mouthed grandpa.

 


 

The family road trip story is about as new in Hollywood as the moving picture, but “Little Miss Sunshine,” the smash hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, rings nothing of the standard “Vacation” fare.
      “Sunshine” is about Olive (Abigail Breslin), a young girl with dreams of beauty queendom, who wins a spot in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant. Her mother (Toni Collette), Dr. Phil-wannabe father (Greg Kinnear), self-decided mute brother (Paul Dano), drug-addicted, retirement home-exhiled grandfather (Alan Arkin) and suicidal uncle (Steve Carell) all pile into the beat-up family Volkswagen minibus for the long trip from Albuquerque, N.M. to Redondo Beach, Calif. to make Olive’s dream a reality.

      For the life of me I can’t think of another family movie so unsuitable for family viewing. “Sunshine” is as profane as it is outrageous, but at its heart, it’s a delightful and ultimately touching family story.

      The screenplay, the first of many (hopefully) by Michael Arndt, is fantastic. His characters are flawed, but even at their lowest points they ring true to the reality of human imperfection.
Kinnear’s character is simultaneously annoying and bemusing, and Arkin’s character probably belongs in jail, yet for both, at some point in the movie, they are absolutely endeared to the audience. The screenplay is laugh out loud funny, yet it possesses a subtlety that isn’t found in mainstream Hollywood.

      Carell’s character is gay, but at no point is he the flamboyant stereotype that so often appears in films. There are no cheap jokes or common gags in “Little Miss Sunshine,” and even when the story seems headed for downtrodden comedic ground (the creepy pedophile in the child beauty pageant audience), Arndt takes it in a new and interesting direction.

      The family’s yellow Volkswagen minibus not only provides the setting for most of the movie but is also the source of some of its best humor. Between a clutch that won’t go to first or second gear and a horn that sounds like it’s constantly signaling off Morse code, first time directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris give the van enough personality to qualify it as the last (and not even the most dysfunctional) member of the family.

      To match its colorful cast of characters, “Sunshine” has an equally entertaining and talented group of actors. Kinnear’s performance is one of the best of his career; he’s at his best when he’s playing an everyman, and Frank Hoover perfectly fits that profile.
Carell’s first shot at a more dramatic role captures the intensity of Bill Murray (whom the role was originally written for) while maintaining the charisma and sentiment that made him so lovable in “The 40 Year-Old Virgin.”

     Toni Collette’s performance is admirable, Paul Dano continues to build on his reputation as a terrific young actor, Abigail Breslin could become the next Dakota Fanning and Alan Arkin was born to play this dirty-mouthed grandpa.