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on May 21, 2017
One of my favorite movies - not appropriate for younger audiences (say, under 14, those 15 and over need some parental guidance), but hysterical and brings home the fact how important family support is. Definitely recommend.
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on January 3, 2018
A favorite movie, esp. for us who grew up in highly dysfunctional homes, and now look back and can laugh at it... great comedy, this one. A classic!
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VINE VOICEon January 29, 2007
At the beginning of "Little Miss Sunshine", everyone seems to be floating in a kind of Proustian soup--a fact marked by the screenwriters when they make one of the ensemble cast, Frank,who has just lost his lover and attempted suicide "the world's #1 Proust scholar". The three adult male members--Frank, the uncle (Steve Carell), father Richard (Greg Kinnear), and Richard's father (Alan Arkin, "Grandpa"), come at us with eyes full of a sense of a life somehow gone off the track, much as little Olive, the title character, bounces cheerily in with eyes full of hope and dreams. Paul Dano, as teenage Dwayne, in a vow of silence that allows his character to play the tortured adolescent brilliantly by showing no affect whatsoever and through scribbled notes like "Welcome to Hell" and "Please don't kill yourself tonight", still hangs on to two dreams--getting away from his family, and being a test pilot for the Air Force. Mom Sheryl (Toni Colette), quirky in her own way, ("Olive, you can be fat or thin, whichever you want,") is the glue that seems to hold this bunch together.

When Olive gets a chance to participate in the finals of a beauty contest in another state, the family pack up in the yellow VW van. On the way, dad keeps in touch with the guru who's supposed to get his first book off the ground, of which he told mom "This is it," an apparent promise to get his office out of her kitchen. He excitedly shares his "9 Step" self help program to everyone. Grandpa, who has been helping Olive with the "talent" part of her performance, sneaks into the bathroom to snort some of the cocaine that got him kicked out of the retirement home and into the Hoovers' household. Frank seems to be growing comfortable with this quirky family of his sister's, particularly Dwayne.

But before they reach the Redondo Beach hotel where the pageant takes place, losses or the poignant memories knock the wind out of each of the yellow, sunshiny bus's passengers. Painful (and expensive) as these problems threaten to be, no one suggests turning back.

Once in Redondo Beach, afraid the pageant is not for Olive, they are tempted to "protect" her from her own dream. After all, they've all just been a little bruised, they don't want her to feel such pain. But instead, they find a way to temper the consequences of living those dreams out, a little. In doing so, they craft a last scene full of all the comedic command of Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell, an up and coming little Abigail Breslin, other members of this stupendous cast, and a certain funky number by the late Rick James.

*********

DVD EXTRAS

This DVD is worthwhile in that the directors' and writers' comments are helpful in understanding the film. I'm surprised to hear, for example, that the directors thought the scene with Frank (Steve Carell) in the convenience store (no spoilers, sorry) would be funny. It will break your heart--as will the one scene where Dwayne does become emotional.

The camera technique used by having a camera in the back and front of the bus (and several different busses) gave more of a sense of what the crew and cast were going through on this low-budget film: clearly a labor of love.

Don't get too excited over the 4 alternate endings. 1 of them is Abigail Breslin's (Olive) ending, "with Abigail Breslin directing" and you can pretty much guess the 2 minute ending she would have liked. It's funny, but it was never seriously considered.
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on July 3, 2016
We rented this a few years back over a family vacation and it was enjoyable.
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on December 8, 2017
Brillant storytelling. Fresh characters that feel real. Truthful performances and a wonderful message wrapped up in a quirky nutty plot.
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on June 14, 2017
Love this movie...I had been wanting to see it for the 3rd time but could not find it on tv for awhile...had to own it!
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on August 6, 2017
Hilarious movie. I saw it when it first came out and am looking forward to watching it again.
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on December 10, 2017
What’re doing reading this review? You see what the others are saying. Add this to your collection now.
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on July 31, 2017
Just too funny. My youngest (now 20) had never seen this movie so we watched recently.
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on April 2, 2017
Excellent product, arrived as expected.
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