Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 at 05:00 PM
Little Miss Sunshine
By: S. Tran
Starring: Abigail Breslin, Greg Kinnear, Paul Dano, Alan Arkin, Toni Collette, Steve Carell
Directed By: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Running Time: 101 minutes
I finally got around to seeing Little Miss Sunshine for two reasons. One, I kept hearing about the movie and how it was going to be a major award contender and two, because everything Steve Carell does is brilliant. Given these two factors I had pretty high hopes for the movie. Ultimately its a fun little film that will entertain you even though I think it's not as deep as it thinks it is.
Little Miss Sunshine tells the story of a dysfunctional family (hint, most little indy films revolve around a dysfunctional family of some sort) that is falling apart. Carell is the suicidal, gay brother, Kinnear and Collette are the parents who can't get it together, Dano plays the mute, angry young teenager and Arkin is the foul mouthed yet loving grandfather. At the center of this storm of weirdness is Olive (Breslin) the young girl dreaming of winning the Little Miss Sunshine pageant.
Circumstances come together to force the entire family into an old VW van in order to help Olive attend the pageant (hint number two, road trips are a must for quirky films). Predictably, the next two hours show us the family slowly coming apart at the seams. We know of course that eventually they will rally around Olive at the end of the film.
If I sound like I didn't like the film that's not true, I did. It is has some really nice acting from the entire cast. Breslin is a terrific child actress and Carell demonstrates another level in his acting. The situations that the family gets into are also pretty funny. However there wasn't much in the film that I found to be profound or especially moving. At the end of the film I didn't know if I really cared about anyone more than I did at the beginning. I think the film benefits more from some good marketing and casting than anything else.
This is a good film that is worth seeing for the performances if nothing else. It is well paced and well acted and even though I found the end a little creepy, overall it was a good way to spend a couple of hours.
3.5 out of 5 stars.