Little Miss Sunshine is the 2006 comedy-drama about a family on a road trip to see that their 7-year-old, Olive (Abigail Breslin) gets to her beauty pageant.
Pudgy and overshadowed with insecurity, Olive takes pageant advice and dance moves from her coach and grandpa, Edwin (Alan Arkin). Olive’s father, Richard Hoover (Greg Kinnear), is a control freak who is banking on this 9-step winners program he created to solve all the family’s financial problems. Sheryl Hoover (Toni Collette), Olive’s mother, is the rational one who tries to satisfy everyone despite their bickering. Dwayne Hoover (Paul Dano), Olive’s brother, has taken a vow of silence in hopes to become a pilot. Grandpa Edwin is a war veteran who was recently kicked out his retirement home for snorting heroin. And finally, Olive’s uncle, Frank (Steve Carell) is recently released from the hospital after being fired and trying to kill himself.
The family packs into a 1972 Volkswagen T2 Microbus and heads to Redondo Beach, California. The trip is anything but normal. Family secrets are revealed, every family member comes to some sort of realization, and even one, unexpectedly dies. Once Olive finally gets to the pageant, it’s up to her to use her beauty and dance moves to be crowned Little Miss Sunshine.
There’s no question that I am a huge Steve Carell fan, but to see him as a gay suicidal genius, takes the cake. Even to this day, Little Miss Sunshine is some of his best work. He effortlessly makes you laugh with his sarcasm, dry humor, and overall “I’m just glad to be alive” spirit. Camouflaging his wrist cuts with 2 day old medical tape, Steve Carell’s character looked defeated but he was actually full of life.
4.5 Stars: Little Miss Sunshine is brilliant and collectively celebrates the dysfunctional complexity of any family. You are guaranteed to laugh from beginning to end!