Title: Little Miss Sunshine
Release Date: 18 August 2006
Director: Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris
Production Co: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Country: United States
This dark comedy seems to me as if the filmmakers got together and made a bet that they could make a movie about a dysfunctional family with the most awful characters possible and still have them rally together for a Hollywood ending. If that’s the case, the filmmakers pulled it off quite well in this road trip movie about a family racing to California to fulfill a young daughters dream to appear in a beauty pageant. There’s a lot of this movie that’s too precious and the recurring gags about the family’s VW minibus remind me of a Roger Ebert comment on how funny cars are a sign of desperation. And there’s a lot of scenes that defy belief. Still this movie’s high points stand out and I’m especially impressed by Paul Dano who is expressive despite playing an angry teen who has taken a vow of silence, Steve Carell as the suicidal but droll uncle, and the always wonderful Alan Arkin as the vulgar grandfather.