I have been looking at amazing reviews of this movie the whole of last week. As of Saturday, Rotten Tomatoes had a rating of 93% for this movie. Wow! I thought that this ought to be the one of the coolest movies this summer. But then, all the talk of this movie being a sweet little tale of a dysfunctional family coming together on a road-trip…well, that had me wondering if this was going to be one of those sad tear-jerkers. Anyway, when I got a free ticket from AMC for this Sunday, I picked this film and went all the way to Empire 25 in soaking rain to catch a viewing.
And thankfully, all my fears were proven untrue. This one turned out to be a moderately funny one, full of quirky characters and insane situations. And a healthy break from the routine stuff being thrown at us all the time.
But then, it left me wondering what all that hype from the Sydney and Sundance festivals was about.
The movie starts off with Sheryl (Toni Collete) bringing her brother, Frank (Steve Carell) to live in the Hoover household, after a failed suicide attempt. Now, this family is basically a group of really whacko people, each having an equally manic personality. The head of the family, Richard (Greg Kinnear), is one big loser who is actually trying to sell a nine-point plan to being a winner, which obviously isn’t finding any takers. The angst-ridden teenage son Dwayne (Paul Dano) is another looney, who has taken a vow of silence till he becomes a fighter pilot. The seven-year old daughter Olive (Abigail Breslin) is super-crazed with beauty contests and keeps “practicing her moves” all the time. Then there is the Grandpa (Alan Arkin) who is hooked to heroin and is forever spurting obscenities.
Now, little Olive qualifies for a national beauty pageant for kids in California, and the whole family ends up driving down the 800 miles from New Mexico in a car which just keeps breaking down.
As you can imagine, the situation lends itself to several absurd situations, and the movie does have plenty of them; some of them being pretty funny too.
The film also boasts of some wonderful performances from the whole cast, the pick being the appealing Breslin and the expressive Dano (previously seen in The Girl Next Door).
But then, is it the award-winning stuff that it is being made out to be? C’mon, gimme a break! There have been funnier movies this season. Little Miss Sunshine is a reasonably funny movie, with some good performances and a lot of hype.
Little Miss Sunshine (Rated R, for language, some sex and drug content)
Running Time : 101 minutes.
Directed by: Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris.
Cast : Abigail Breslin, Greg Kinnear, Paul Dano, Alan Arkin, Toni Collete and Steve Carell.