A big hit at the Sundance file festival, Little Miss Sunshine is a not so typical family road trip movie about a dysfunctional family just trying to get along.
The Hoover family has a lot of problems. Richard Hoover (Greg Kinnear) is a motivational speaker unable to motivate anyone into giving him a paying job. His wife Sheryl (Toni Collette) is a divorcee desperate to keep her family from falling apart. Their son, Dwayne (Paul Dano) has spent the last 9 months taking a vow of silence. Richard's father (Alan Arkin) has been kicked out of his nursing home for taking drugs and Sheryl's brother, Frank (Steve Carell) is on suicide watch after losing his job and a failed love affair became too much for him to handle.
Despite their problems, the family pulls it together for 7 year old Olive, a beauty queen wannabe who doesn't fit in, and by a twist of fate, has ended up as a late entrant in the Little Miss Sunshine competition. With only three days to get Olive to California to compete, the Hoover's set out in their broken VW bus on an adventure which will bring them together, pull them apart, make them laugh, make them cry, destroy their dreams and fulfill their goals.
Despite the dark family problems, Little Miss Sunshine is quite a funny comedy. The dry wit of the script and the talent of the actors really make it a stand out film. Highlights include the entire family having to push start their car everytime they set off on the road, the heartbreaking realization which causes Dwayne to break his vow of silence and Olive's hysterically inappropriate talent dance routine which will make you think twice about children's beauty pageants.
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