Jan 14, 2009

Little Miss Sunshine

Tons of folks adore this 2006 release, and here's why it works for me: It's a genuinely laugh-out-loud film that's ultimately an uplifting one, too. The script is never lazy or maudlin (and won a well-deserved best-screenplay Oscar). The acting is note-perfect and sometimes heart-wrenching.

The six central characters, who pile into a VW microbus for an 800-mile journey, are all decent and sympathetic -- despite their eccentricities. The opening scenes are painful to watch, but a series of very funny incidents follow.

The film is irreverent and contains tons of profanity, but there are also lovely, tender moments between father and son, grandfather and granddaughter, uncle and niece, and uncle and nephew.

synopsis: Olive is an ordinary-looking 7-year-old girl who dreams of being a beauty queen. She and five relatives undertake a cross-country journey so that she may compete in a pageant already tainted by a diet-pill scandal. (Yes, we're talking 7-year-olds!)

In addition to her parents and her brother, she's accompanied by her grandfather (who lives with them after being kicked out of a retirement home) and her gay uncle who's recently attempted suicide.

The adult themes and aggressive profanity make this film unsuitable for kids. On the other hand, there are no weapons, violence, or gore.