Little Miss Sunshine

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4 out of 5
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Miss Sunshine Brightened my Day

by Rose on 2/27/2007

Can't say enough. Brilliantly sarcastic. The floated an original boat in a sea of remakes. Dukes of Hazzard? Pleeease! Abigail SHOULD have won best actress.

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Sunshine on your shoulders

by on 8/2/2007

A delightful dysfunctional family movie, as if seen through the eyes of "Little Miss Sunshine." Not your perfect family, but they all come together to support a little girl's dream about being in a beauty contest. Fun to see!

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Product Overview

A family determined to get their young daughter into the finals of a beauty pageant take a cross-country trip in their vw bus.


Studio Foxvideo
SKU 203404448
UPC 024543403319
UPC 14 00024543403319
Format DVD
Release Date 3/6/2007
Rating Rating
Black Comedy
Road Movies
Road Trips
Theatrical Release
Editors Note
Note Picked up after a well-received showing at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE is a low-budget comedy about a family road trip from Albuquerque to California. The story begins when young Olive (Abigail Breslin) is given a shot at the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant, and manages to coerce her family into driving west in their worn-down VW van. Olive's father, Richard (Greg Kinnear), takes charge of the trip, while her mother, Sheryl (Toni Collette), brother Dwayne (Paul Dano), uncle Frank (Steve Carell), and eccentric grandfather (Alan Arkin) all come along for the ride. What follows resembles a budget-stricken version of PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES: seemingly endless (and hilarious) mishaps befall the family as they wind their way across the country. Couple this with the witty interplay between a well-drawn set of dysfunctional characters, and that's the LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE formula in a nutshell; all the audience needs to do is sit back and enjoy the ride. ^The grainy texture of co-directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris's film may initially startle viewers unaccustomed to the indie film world. But its a testament to the cast and crew's efforts that the limitations imposed on the filmmakers are long forgotten by the end of the film. Any concerns about visual murkiness give way to belly laughs and bemusement as the road trip ends and the beauty pageant begins. Likely to have a broad appeal, Dayton and Faris's film resembles a version of NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VACATION directed with the pithy eye of Todd Solondz (WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE), and it's to the movie's credit that it manages to successfully marry these two seemingly disparate worlds.
Movieline's Hollywood Life "[T]his is a comic gem, uproarious and heartfelt at the same time....Alan Arkin gives an Oscar-caliber performance..." 07/01/2006 p.102
Rolling Stone 3 stars out of 4 -- "[S]omething wonderful: a scrappy human comedy that takes an honest path to laughs and is twice as funny and touching for it." 08/10/2006 p.112,Ranked #9 in Rolling Stone's "The 10 Best Movies Of 2006" -- "It's hilarious, heartbreaking and achingly true." 12/28/2006 p.118
Total Film 4 stars out of 5 -- "[S]martly and sympathetically executed....Feelgood fun for all the dysfunctional family." 10/01/2006 p.42
Uncut 4 stars out of 4 -- "[W]hat makes this one fly is its warmth. LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE is a first-class love-letter to a family of losers." 10/01/2006 p.148
Sight and Sound "The perfect casting makes for some exceptionally confident comedy....With accessible humour and universal themes..." 10/01/2006 p.66
Ultimate DVD 5 stars out of 5 -- "Full of eccentric but believable characters, witty dialogue and pitch-perfect performances....Touching, hilarious and quirky..." 03/01/2007 p.104
Wall Street Journal "A dysfunctional-family comedy with a difference -- the function progresses from dys to full and loving." 04/02/2010
Valerie Faris
Jonathan Dayton
Steven Carell
Greg Kinnear
Toni Collette
Cast & Crew
Abigail Breslin - Actor
Alan Arkin - Actor
Alan E. Muraoka - Art Director
Albert Berger - Producer
Beth Grant - Actor
Bryan Cranston - Actor
Devotchka - Original Music By
Greg Kinnear - Actor
Jonathan Dayton - Director
Michael Arndt - Writer
Michael Beugg - Executive Producer
Mychael Danna - Original Music By
Pamela Martin - Editor
Paul Dano - Actor
Steve Carell - Actor
Tim Suhrstedt - Cinematographer
Toni Collette - Actor
Valerie Faris - Director
Technical Info
Original Release Date 2006
Catalog ID 2257783
UPC 00024543403319
Number of Discs 1
Running Time 101 minutes
Color Color
Original Language English
Available Subtitles English, French, Spanish
Available Audio Tracks English, Spanish Dubbed
Aspect Ratio
Anamorphic Widescreen/Standard  2.40:1/1.33:1 [4:3]
Oscar (2007) Abigail Breslin, Nominee, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role,Alan Arkin, Winner, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role,David T. Friendly, et. al., Nominee, Best Motion Picture of the Year,Michael Arndt, Winner, Best Writing, Original Screenplay
British Academy Awards (2007) Alan Arkin, Winner, Best Actor in a Supporting Role,Michael Arndt, Winner, Best Screenplay - Original
Independent Spirit (2007) Alan Arkin, Winner, Best Supporting Male,Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris, Winner, Best Director,Marc Turtletaub, et. al., Winner, Best Feature,Michael Arndt, Winner, Best First Screenplay
Screen Actors Guild (2007) Greg Kinnear, et. al., Winner, Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Golden Globe (2007) Little Miss Sunshine, Nominee, Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
ReviewSource Variety
Review Veteran husband-and-wife musicvideo and commercials team Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris make a disarming segue into features with "Little Miss Sunshine," a quietly antic dysfunctional family road trip comedy that shoots down the all-American culture of the winner and offers sweet redemption for losers -- or at least the ordinary folks often branded as such. Pic's distinguished by a flawless cast, a gentle spirit of rebellion and a smart script by first-time screenwriter Michael Arndt that knows never to push its character quirks too hard. Its humanity and heart make it a natural to transcend the indie niche to a broader audience.
Reviewer David Rooney
ReviewRating 9
Review Little Miss Sunshine was the big crowd-pleaser at this year's Sundance Film Festival, nabbing a rich distribution deal and heaps of attention. In the real world, however, the average moviegoer's reaction to this dark, unusual comedy (think: National Lampoon's Vacation with brains) may be a tad less enthusiastic. Either way, co-directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, along with first-time screenwriter Michael Arndt, have fashioned an enjoyably quirky, highly perceptive film that slaps a newish spin on family dysfunction...The performances are uniformly terrific, with Kinnear and Carell taking top honors; their heroic transformations are both rousing and touching. Colette, as usual, is excellent, despite a somewhat underdeveloped character.
Reviewer Gary Goldstein
ReviewRating 8
ReviewSource ReelViews
Review It takes a deft hand to fashion a feel-good movie with plenty of laughs and an upbeat ending out of a story that includes drug addiction, a suicide attempt, a death, Nietzsche, and Proust. Despite treading through a minefield of tone shifts, co-directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris and writer Michael Arndt reach the other side unscathed. Little Miss Sunshine is a small gem - or, considering the inclusion of hot star Steve Carell and the $10 million price tag paid by Fox Searchlight to acquire the distribution rights, perhaps not so "small." Smiles will be in evidence of the faces of audience members exiting a showing of this movie...Over the course of 100 minutes, Little Miss Sunshine covers a lot of ground. The bulk of the film encapsulates the road trip. Similarities to the recent R.V. exist, but this production is fresher, funnier, and less artificial...Greg Kinnear and Toni Collette form the backbone of Little Miss Sunshine's skeleton, but their workmanlike performances are the least notable. Paul Dano does a lot with a role that robs him of dialogue, and Abigail Breslin (who made her debut in Signs) shows herself to be more capable than about 95% of the performers in her age group. She's talented, understands her part, and avoids the terminal cuteness that afflicts too many portrayals by young actors. Steve Carell surprises by playing it straight. Unlike Will Farrell, who was awkward in his non-comedic turn in Winter Passing, Carell's performance is unaffected. He gets some laughs, but not by doing anything outrageous or extreme. Finally, there's veteran Alan Arkin, who steals every scene he's in. Over the years, Arkin has honed his timing and means of delivery, and they serve him well here...It's the kind of picture audiences enjoy because there's substance to go with the humor, and movie-goers will leave the theater feeling uplifted. Ultimately, despite flirting with some darker subjects, Little Miss Sunshine lives up to its name.
Reviewer James Berardinelli
ReviewRating 8
ReviewSource Chicago Sun-Times
Review The first thing we see are the blue eyes of a little girl staring right at us so intently, it seems she could peer right into our souls. Only she's not looking at us. The reflection in her big plastic glasses reveals she's gazing at a beauty pageant on TV, at the moment the winner is being crowned. She's studying this moment, rehearsing it and rehearsing for it. Just a few seconds into "Little Miss Sunshine" we know it's a movie about dreams -- and illusions...A gentle family satire and a classic American road movie, "Little Miss Sunshine" harks back to the anti-establishment, countercultural comedies of the 1970s such as "Smile" or "Harold and Maude" -- satirical fairy tales that preached the virtues of nonconformity over the superficiality of conventional American values...You just won't see a better acted, and better cast, movie than "Little Miss Sunshine." These actors (and their directors, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris) grasp how unspoken reactions can be funnier than dialogue or punchlines, and how pain can be the source of the most satisfying comedy...All the actors play the emotions straight and true. Dano, his dead black eyes obscured by thick bangs and set into a pale face that seems to be imploding with teen alienation and disgust, just has to tilt his head almost imperceptibly to bring down the house...Carell is a miracle in pink-and-blue-striped socks. He creates a character whose pain surrounds him like a hard plastic bubble. And the less he seems to do, the funnier he gets. He makes the name "Nietzsche" (which he pronounces crisply as "Neet-chah") inexplicably hilarious. And how to describe the way Uncle Frank runs? It's an intellectual run -- performed as if the act of running had been studied, broken down into its component parts, and then reassembled -- all analysis, no grace. It's almost inhumanly human, and pricelessly funny. But it's not just a sped-up silly walk, it's an authentic expression of character.
Reviewer Roger Ebert
ReviewRating 9
DVD, Pan and Scan (TV Format), Aspect Ratio 1.33:1, Widescreen, Aspect Ratio 2.35:1, English, Spanish, French, Subtitled
Product Attributes
Actor Carell,Steve
Label Fox Home Entertainment
Music Format DVD
Video Format DVD
Carina Chocano, Los Angeles Times As ambitious, honest and subversive as any American movie since "Election."
Ella Taylor, L.A. Weekly A raucously entertaining slice of slapstick dressed up as domestic satire.
San Francisco Chronicle Little Miss Sunshine dropped from celluloid heaven.
David Ansen, Newsweek This indie, a sweet, tart and smart satire about a family of losers in a world obsessed with winning, is an authentic crowd pleaser.
Ella Taylor, LA Weekly A raucously entertaining slice of slapstick dressed up as domestic satire.
Jessica Reaves, Chicago Tribune Funny, and thoughtful, and deeply, viscerally satisfying.
Michael Sragow, Baltimore Sun You won't see a brighter, truer affirmation of the All-American messed-up improvisational family than Little Miss Sunshine.
USA Today Winning, hilarious and heartwarming!

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