Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

A dysfunctional family brings us one of the most boring dark comedies of all time in the form of Little Miss Sunshine. Despite receiving critical acclaim and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and nominations for Best supporting Actress and Best Picture, Little Miss Sunshine does little to inspire, impress, or entertain. The story centers on the Hoover family, 6 people who have been given tragic flaws that are meant to inspire sincerity and care, but instead you just feel overwhelmed by the overabundance of problems. You have the financially challenged father Richard (Greg Kinnear), the previously divorced wife Sheryl (Toni Collette), the heroine addicted grandfather simply called Grandpa throughout the film (Alan Arkin), the angry-at-the-world son Dwayne (Paul Dano), the suicidal Uncle Frank (Steve Carrell), and the beauty pageant daughter who is far from beauty pageant material Olive (Abigail Breslin). When Olive wins a regional beauty pageant (by default), she is invited to participate in the Little Miss Sunshine pageant, which is apparently a big deal. But the only way for her to attend would be to have her entire family drive 800 miles in an old Volkswagon Bus. As you can probably imagine, once these 6 implacable forces get inside a cramped van, drama ensues, ties become unraveled, and even some dreams become crushed. I would go deeper into detail about each character's own little story, but I don't have the time at the moment (friggin homework).

Never before have I disliked so many characters in one movie. Of Little Miss Sunshine's 6 main characters, only 3 were bearable. When you only have 3 good characters surrounded by 3 annoying characters for an entire movie, you don't have a very good film. Greg Kinnear's Richard Hoover was a genuine, certified, licensed and approved, jackass. I felt no sympathy for him as he continuously dug his family a bigger grave with his stubborn attitude. Granted, his character was probably meant to come off as a jerk, but a line has to be drawn somewhere. The writers made him too overbearing and utterly intolerable. I was deeply annoyed by Toni Collette as Sheryl. Of the family, she was one of the least messed up, but I still could not care less about what she was doing or saying. The lack of interest in these 2 characters alone made it near impossible to watch Little Miss Sunshine. Alan Arkin received the Best Supporting Actor Oscar that I previously mentioned, and I don't know why. Arkin was very entertaining to watch in this film, but given the people he was nominated against (Mark Wahlberg for The Departed, Jackie Earle Haley for Little Children) there is no fathomable reason for him to have won. He did provide for I'd say 95% of the comedy in the movie, but he didn't astound me into giving him an Oscar. Abigail Breslin also received an undeserved award nomination, as little Olive Hoover: the little stout girl who dreams of being a beauty pageant queen. Sure it's a cute concept, but Breslin did nothing remarkable with her character. She is a child actor that acted like a child. That's quite the stretch. Little Miss Sunshine is not completely void of interesting people. Steve Carrell and Paul Dano both give stellar performances and if anything, they should've received Oscar nominations. The budding friendship that forms throughout the film between the suicidal Frank and voluntarily mute Dwayne gave the movie a feeling of substance and was the only thing that held my interest. Dano alone should be praised as a wonderful talent for bringing hope to this lackluster movie.

Little Miss Sunshine was in development hell for a while, and perhaps they should've kept it their for a little while longer. The potential to be a great film and being a great film are two very different things, and Little Miss Sunshine never realizes its potential to cross the line and become great. The movie begins to turn extremely unwatchable at the 3/4 mark, after a significant event occurs to a significant character. The ending itself was neither heartwarming nor fulfilling, and was simply too much of a blatant attempt at comedy that didn't fit in with the rest of the movies subtle dark humor. I must admit, the first time I watched Little Miss Sunshine I did enjoy it. But one main part of being a great film is durability. Can this film endure multiple viewings and still be good? No. I watched Little Miss Sunshine two more times and both times I found new reasons to dislike it. If you want to watch this film, do it once and then never again. My rating (5/10)

1 comment:

  1. i'm glad you didn't like this movie

    i never saw it, but i had a suspicion it was over rated.

    good review. nice personal touch with the "friggin homework" i loled. =]


Movies given a 10/10

  • Milk
  • In Bruges
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • The Dark Knight
  • Iron Man
  • No Country For Old Men
  • The Shining
  • A Clockwork Orange