Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    100
    What makes husband-and-wife directing team Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris' hilarious debut such a great family film isn't that it's suitable for the whole family (it's not), but that it speaks a simple truth about what it means to be part of one.
  2. As ambitious, honest and subversive as any American movie since "Election."
  3. 100
    You won't see a brighter, truer affirmation of the All-American messed-up improvisational family than Little Miss Sunshine.
  4. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    90
    This indie, a sweet, tart and smart satire about a family of losers in a world obsessed with winning, is an authentic crowd pleaser. There's been no more satisfying American comedy this year.
  5. 90
    A raucously entertaining slice of slapstick dressed up as domestic satire.
  6. While the film itself isn't perfect, who cares about perfection in the face of abundant life, authentic screwiness and lovely surprises by the busload?
  7. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    88
    It has been a while since we've seen such a consistently funny and entertaining road movie.
  8. Reviewed by: Jessica Reaves
    88
    Funny, and thoughtful, and deeply, viscerally satisfying.
  9. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    88
    It looks at the all-American obsession with winning and chortles darkly. You still come out of the movie wanting to give your family a hug.
  10. The irony is, this family isn't mismatched: All six bickering characters are connected by empathy as well as blood, and we wait for them to figure that out.
  11. 83
    The film accomplishes a remarkable feat of creative alchemy by breathing life and depth into characters that, in lesser hands, could easily have come across as grating caricatures.
  12. A prime example of a dysfunctional-family comedy that also doubles as a road movie. Even the vehicle of transport is dysfunctional.
  13. In remarkably compact and quietly concise vignettes, we're introduced to each member, and immediately understand what they're all about.
  14. 83
    A painful, funny and fresh comedy.
User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 536 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 54 out of 250
  1. Sep 30, 2011
    9
    "Little Miss Sunshine" is a heart-warm movie. It's well written script delivers that supporting each other as a family, everything is"Little Miss Sunshine" is a heart-warm movie. It's well written script delivers that supporting each other as a family, everything is possible. And yes, it is one of the best movies of the year. Full Review »
  2. Sep 30, 2011
    9
    LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE is an independent film, humorous in its own dark little way. Though the film comes across mostly a drama, it has itsLITTLE MISS SUNSHINE is an independent film, humorous in its own dark little way. Though the film comes across mostly a drama, it has its funny moments, and all of the humor is either subtle, clever, depressing, or a combination of the three. Though Steve Carrell, now known for his wittingly hilarious role in TV's comedy THE OFFICE, appears as one of the more major characters, Alan Arkin (if any cast member) seems to be the one who draws the most audience laughs. In fact, Carrell delivers most likely the least humorous role. Though he does definitely still have his humor, with a big nod to the scene at the dinner table near the beginning. Other than that, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE is a heartwarming, sometimes weepy, and ultimately feel-good film. I highly doubt there has been one road movie as good and unpredictable as this since NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VACATION. Full Review »
  3. JasperV.
    Dec 29, 2007
    1
    Wow. I'm stunned. Every once in a while a movie comes along that is jaw-droppingly horrible to the point that it leaves your mouth Wow. I'm stunned. Every once in a while a movie comes along that is jaw-droppingly horrible to the point that it leaves your mouth hanging open. I lack sufficient terms to express how trite and repellent I find this simpering movie. It's an exhausted "human spirit" movie so cloying that it needs to be taken off life support. From the first time I saw the TV commercial which featured the hackneyed ruse of getting the whole family in one vehicle for the duration of a movie, I suspected the script would have difficulty making that premise believable. It certainly fails there, but that's the least of its problems. But still, the wealth of good reviews drew me to buy a ticket. My initial reservations were right. This script is an inept piece of garbage long before you evaluate it on moral grounds, where it collapses spectacularly. The family here is a mix of characters so drippy and dense that they never realize their dumpy, uncoordinated, bespectacled daughter isn't the Junior Miss type. It takes them exactly one pageant (following a needless cross country trip) to figure that out. The same family doesn't realize that a heroin-snorting, horndog grandfather shouldn't be the one teaching their adolescent daughter her beauty pageant dance number. Why not go all the way and include a "funny scene" of grandpa molesting her? The setup is practically there; a scene so distasteful feels like it's just off-screen (or on the cutting room floor) in this wholly objectionable movie. Long after a ridiculously unbelievable "chance meeting" in a gas station, long after paper-deep villains have been thrown at the screen, long after the annoying Murphy's Law plot line is exhausted, comes the most sick, saccharine, crappy moment in all of film history which involves a family attempting to redeem their seven-year old daughters failed, inappropriate talent routine (a strip tease) by joining her on stage. Sexualizing a seven year old girl without her being developmentally able to understand it... mmm, that's comedy gold. This "edgy material" is about as palatable as a cup of bleach. I'm not one to look for messages but here we've got something like "Let's all support each other as we swim up the cr*p river of life!" I'm sure it's supporters think I've missed the point and that the humor is just dark. It's not dark. Making a dark comedy is an art. This comedy has no edge in it's delivery. It's filmed straight. It's acted and presented ineptly. It's about as edgy as a smutty episode of Seventh Heaven. This is the rotten family-values homily to end them all. Drawing big saccharine payoffs to support a family values theme also places this squarely in mainstream whitebread entertainment. It makes perfect sense that idiotic Hollywood would nominate this tripe for a bunch of Oscars, but I can't believe I respect people who like this atrocity. The Oscars have become so gratingly self-impressed, and the nominees so limp, that all you can really do anymore is root against films you don't want to have any further influence on the culture. I am so glad it lost the Best Picture award ; Now it starts a long descent to the bottom of time's toilet, exactly where it belongs, where it will be forgotten. Full Review »