Wife and husband directing team Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton are best known for directing rockstars, including—Weezer, REM, Smashing Pumpkins, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Janet Jackson. Their first major motion picture has already won an award this year at the Sydney Film Festival, and received a standing ovation closing night at Sundance.
This film is an offbeat dark comedy about the Hoovers—a dysfunctional family in a dysfunctional yellow VW mini-bus on a shotgun journey from New Mexico to California so 7-year old Olive can compete in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant. This bumpy ride is packed with laughs and genuine tender moments from start to finish. The chemistry between characters is so on. The writing is brilliant, easily the smartest movie I’ve seen in years.
Each actor delivers outstanding performances, including:
- Greg Kinnear as Richard, the motivational-speaker-from-hell Dad that can’t tolerate losers or fatties
- Toni Collette as Cheryl, the loving, fair and level-headed Mom everyone wishes they had [ You’re terrible, Muriel! ]
- Alan Arkin as foul-mouth drugged-up horndog Grandpa that hands out sage advice from the heart
- Steve Carell as suicidal gay Uncle Frank, who may be a 40-year old, but I doubt he’s a virgin
- Paul Dano as the rebellious teenage Nietzsche-freak who by choice hasn’t uttered a word in nine months, and also has no chin
- Abigail Breslin as the irresistible old soul in a the body of a could-be-chubby 7-year old girl with big ol’ glasses who simply wants to understand the true meaning of being beautiful
If you’re looking for a campy movie with evil little girls dolled up to look like expensive bratty midget Barbie hookers, this is NOT your movie. Little Miss Sunshine is a quirky film about a quirky family dealing with the importance of accepting each other as they are so they can grow to accept and love themselves, as well as others.
Go see this movie. And if you need a date, call me.