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Little Miss Sunshine

4.2 out of 5 stars 921 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Little Miss Sunshine tells the story of the Hoovers, one of the most endearingly fractured families ever seen on motion picture screens. Together, the motley six-member family treks from Albuquerque to the Little Miss Sunshine pageant in Redondo Beach, California, to fulfill the deepest wish of 7-year-old Olive, an ordinary little girl with big dreams. Along the way the family must deal with crushed dreams, heartbreaks, and a broken-down VW bus, leading up to the surreal Little Miss Sunshine competition itself. On their travels through this bizarrely funny landscape, the Hoovers learn to trust and support each other along the path of life, no matter what the challenge.

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Pile together a blue-ribbon cast, a screenplay high in quirkiness, and the Sundance stamp of approval, and you've got yourself a crossover indie hit. That formula worked for Little Miss Sunshine, a frequently hilarious study of family dysfunction. Meet the Hoovers, an Albuquerque clan riddled with depression, hostility, and the tattered remnants of the American Dream; despite their flakiness, they manage to pile into a VW van for a weekend trek to L.A. in order to get moppet daughter Olive (Abigail Breslin) into the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant. Much of the pleasure of this journey comes from watching some skillful comic actors doing their thing: Greg Kinnear and Toni Collette as the parents (he's hoping to become a self-help authority), Alan Arkin as a grandfather all too willing to give uproariously inappropriate advice to a sullen teenage grandson (Paul Dano), and a subdued Steve Carell as a jilted gay professor on the verge of suicide. The film is a crowd-pleaser, and if anything is a little too eager to bend itself in the direction of quirk-loving Sundance audiences; it can feel forced. But the breezy momentum and the ingenious actors help push the material over any bumps in the road.-- Robert Horton


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Special Features

  • Disc 1 Side A:
  • Full Screen Feature
  • Disc 1 Side B:
  • Widescreen Feature
  • 4 Alternate Endings with optional commentary by directors Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris
  • "Till the End of Time" performed by DeVotchka from the soundtrack
  • Trailers

Product Details

  • Actors: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear, Abigail Breslin, Paul Dano
  • Directors: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
  • Writers: Michael Arndt
  • Producers: Marc Turtletaub, Albert Berger, Bart Lipton, David T. Friendly, Jeb Brody
  • Format: Subtitled, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Fox Searchlight
  • DVD Release Date: December 19, 2006
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (921 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000K7VHQE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,520 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Little Miss Sunshine" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Verified Purchase
If you have ever attended a family reunion or sat down at an extended family holiday dinner and thought to yourself "Who are these people? How could I possibly be related to them?" -- then you will probably appreciate the hilarious and poignant indie film "Little Miss Sunshine."

Richard (Greg Kinnear) is the head of a mostly dysfunctional family and the author of a multi-step/self-help program that he espouses with the passion of a zealot. Sheryl (Toni Collette) is Richard's wife and arguably the most normal and high-functioning member of the family. Their son, Dwayne (Paul Dano), is a nihilistic and remote 15-year-old, who has either stopped speaking to his family because he can't stand them or taken a vow of silence to achieve a personal goal - depending on who is explaining his behavior. Olive (Abigail Breslin) is the family's bright and effervescent 7-year-old, who is already starting to pick up some of the family's more unhealthy tics of criticism and self-doubt. Grandpa (Alan Arkin) is Richard's acerbic and outspoken father who was booted out of his retirement home for snorting heroin. Add to this murky Freudian soup Sheryl's brother, Frank (a wonderfully restrained Steve Carell), who is newly released from the hospital after a failed suicide attempt.

When a message is left on the family's phone machine notifying them of Olive's acceptance into the semi-finals of the Little Miss Sunshine talent competition in California, they decide to (mostly) put aside their personal agendas and take Olive to the pageant.
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Little Miss Sunshine is easily my pick for best film of the year. At the same time, I won't say that you've never seen a movie like this one before. It treads familiar territory and dredges up some recognizable character types, like the silent broody teen and the dirty old man, but it doesn't belabor them; instead it reminds us why we find situations and individuals like these so relatable. It's a road trip movie. It's a dark comedy, but it's also something else altogether.

There are sight gags a plenty and some dysfunctional family fun that walks a fine line between trite and genius, but I (and 93% of the critics on [...]) believe that the performances tip the balance in favor of genius. Alan Arkin is extraordinary as the cantankerous, heroin snorting grandpa with a heart. Toni Collette and Greg Kinnear, as the emotionally fatigued married couple, have an onscreen chemistry that threatens to blow up at any minute. (Boo! Kenney, that's such a cheesy line. You can do better.--I know. I know. But I couldn't resist. Watch the movie and you'll see what I'm talking about.) And we all know Steve Carrell can be funny, but who knew he could play tortured too. And here's something that's entirely refreshing: a seven year-old character, Olive, who is more naïve than she is precocious, and an actress, Abigail Breslin, who pulled it off realistically. She did more than pull it off really. She sold it, and I bought every tear and toothy grin.

The opening sequence introduces the characters and their particular quirks in a series of one-minute shots, so the audience member knows right from the beginning who these people are and basically what's wrong with them.
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Format: DVD
"Little Miss Sunshine" is yet another quirky indie comedy, this time about a dysfunctional family roadtrip. Every character has the requisite wacky personality and/or oddball mannerisms (as is the case in every film of this type). The plot is minimal and contrived, existing for the sole purpose of forcing this unlikely family together. Handled incorrectly, I would usually loathe this type of film. So I'm pleased to report that "Little Miss Sunshine" is far more successful than it has any right to be. While I still feel as if this "little" picture was slightly overpraised upon it's release, it provides many laughs and works as screwball comedy.

One thing that sets "Sunshine" apart from similar indies is a stellar cast. Greg Kinnear and Toni Collette do fine work as the embattled parents. Abigail Breslin brings a refreshing blend of hope and delusion to the title character. Alan Arkin chews the scenery as the foul mouthed addict father--it's nice to see him again, especially in such a showy in-your-face performance. Steve Carell is surprisingly sympathetic as the depressive gay brother. And Paul Dano delivers the movie's best performance as the disconnected son who has taken a vow of silence. So even though this colorful, supremely eccentric bunch are character "types" as opposed to real people, the actors make it work. The moments of drama that appear succeed only because the actors make you care.

But, first and foremost, this is a comedy. And I forgave the calculated eccentricities because the film is simply funny. Outrageous and slapstick, yet smartly observant, this film earns your respect and laughs. It's a fun ride with many identifiable situations.
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