Little Miss Sunshine

User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 580 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 99 out of 580

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User Reviews

  1. Yowazup
    Aug 19, 2007
    5
    Little Miss Sunshine is a dry, slow movie that reaches for quirky and only manages to grab on to pain. In fact, this movie seems to be about how unfair life is and if we all go on stage and show up all the stuck up people that we can dance like a stripper, then we have made something of ourselves. This movie isn't different, its just a complete rehash of old screwball comedy. It Little Miss Sunshine is a dry, slow movie that reaches for quirky and only manages to grab on to pain. In fact, this movie seems to be about how unfair life is and if we all go on stage and show up all the stuck up people that we can dance like a stripper, then we have made something of ourselves. This movie isn't different, its just a complete rehash of old screwball comedy. It wants to find humor in the awkward but comes up with nothing short of inane. The characters are all unlikable, except the two children, and this seems to be done purposely as if to show the old idea of ignorance being bliss. Its situations are terribly staged, and the only thing that works is that the actors all can act. But that does not matter because the characters they're playing are flat and shallow. Sure its trying be true to our world full of social decay, but who cares if all your characters do is decay more(one actually quite literally). This movie gets nominated for best picture while a movie like Children of Men is forgotten. Collapse
  2. WalkerR.
    Feb 20, 2007
    4
    Can you say "overrated". I kept waiting for something to surprise me and win me over...not! Oh, and I guessed the ending from the very beginning. It'll probbaly win best picture too. What a joke.
  3. MarkBayer
    Oct 2, 2006
    6
    The fact that late-summer audiences so enthusiastically embraced this mildly likable but largely derivative, unimaginative family comedy-drama/ social satire/ road movie/ would-be Microcosm of America is proof positive that at the end of an even more dismally mindless movie summer than usual, moviegoers are absolutely starved for anything that presents even an illusion of intelligence, The fact that late-summer audiences so enthusiastically embraced this mildly likable but largely derivative, unimaginative family comedy-drama/ social satire/ road movie/ would-be Microcosm of America is proof positive that at the end of an even more dismally mindless movie summer than usual, moviegoers are absolutely starved for anything that presents even an illusion of intelligence, originality or depth. The family dinner in the Hoover household that opens the movie, and in which all their goals, problems, conflicts and neuroses are artlessly laid out for us, is as clunky, amateurish and contrived as the worst Screenwriting 101 project can get, and the movie misses what should've been some easy, obvious targets completely: even though it tries to get some symbolic mileage out of dad Richard's aspiring career as a motivational speaker, a cursory viewing of a 3 AM infomercial featuring Tony Robbins and Leeza Gibbons yields far more pertinent (if unintentional) commentary about the motivation-for-money business than anything seen here. Acting is uneven: Greg Kinnear (Richard) mined the American Everyman field to much greater results in this year's earlier The Matador, while Alan Arkin, as a dirty old druggie grandpa, adds nothing new to that hoary old independent movie cliché. (But don't be surprised if, like Don Ameche and James Coburn, he walks off with a Lifetime Achievement --oops, Best Supporting Actor Oscar for this trite performance!) On the other hand, Toni Collette, as beleaguered mom Sheryl, proves once again, as she's recently done in The Night Whisperer and In Her Shoes, that she's any movie's secret weapon, while Steve Carell, who at this point in his career seems incapable of doing ANYTHING wrong, balances his manic, hilarious vocal work as Hammy the Squirrel in Over the Hedge with a wonderfully subtle, nuanced portrayal of Sheryl's suicidal gay brother. And the kids are alright, too: Paul Dano, as the Hoovers' resolutely mute son, says more with silences than many actors do with pages of dialogue, while Abigail Breslin, as would-be child beauty pageant contestant Olive, is a joy to watch because she's so thoroughly unaffected. (An Entertainment Weekly interview with her revealed that what she wanted right now more than anything else was to catch a frog. That seems to explain it.) In fact, little Olive herself is so sweet, sensible and thoroughly NORMAL that you can't help but wonder who left her in a basket on the Hoovers' doorstep many years ago; I loved how, even though she very much wants to be in this pageant, she's mature enough to sacrifice it on several occasions when a family crisis appears to interfere. And although one of those emergencies will prove instantly recognizable to anyone who's seen National Lampoon's Vacation, the movie really accelerates at roughly the same pace at which the Hoovers' smiley-face yellow van breaks down. The situations (and the family's reaction to them) get funnier, and the movie barrels into a terrific beauty pageant finale (with no small assistance by Beth Grant, who as an officious official, is a marvelous comic foil) in which Olive innocently exposes children's beauty pageants for the truly repellent, disgusting obscenities that they are. A lovely, Chaplinesque final shot ices the cake, but the question remains: is Little Miss Sunshine's dynamite finish enough to compensate for the sluggishness of most of what precedes it and bump it from a 6 to a 7? Well, let's put it this way, if the fierceness of its attack on kiddie pageants were enough to get them run off the face of the earth, it just might...but then, the JonBenet Ramsey murder (whose recent reemergence as a news story provided this movie with the most unsavory free publicity since the Three Mile Island nuclear accident boosted The China Syndrome back in 1979) wasn't quite enough to get those pedophilic meat parades banned, so... Expand
  4. RosauraC.
    Aug 10, 2006
    6
    It was funny in parts and okay overall, but it could have been funnier. The direction and editing are largely at fault. . Laughs were stepped on and opportunities for good reaction shots were missed. When Duane has his revelation there are funnier things he could have said. The coming attractions for this were brilliant; the film not so much.
  5. MichaelWoods
    Aug 5, 2006
    6
    One too many characters with extreme drawbacks who we are supposed to find endearing in their dysfunction. I laughed a number of times, but under the zaniness, there's something sad and even, at moments, a little nasty. Don't take younger kids unless you want them thinking F*** is normal speech.
  6. T.D.M.
    Jan 26, 2007
    4
    I'm not a fan of independent films, especially cloyingly artsy-fartsy ones like this. There are some chuckles to be had, but the little girl is nearly pushed out of the picture by her dysfunctional family, and the movie just sort of petered out at the end without finality.
  7. rogerT.
    Feb 3, 2007
    5
    To my mind i think this film is good but not exceptionnal, i don't understand when i see 100/100 or good marks like that! if you see this movie you'll pass a good moment but you'll forget it quickly.
  8. Mobius
    Feb 5, 2007
    4
    Motivation husband, depressed teenager, coke sniffing grandad, frumpy kid, and a uncle that tried to kill himself, with these charactors stuck in a VW van for a 800 mile journey it sounds like a great idea for a movie, WRONG!!! I can see why some people may find this a good film but for me it felt that the film just didn't go anywhere. Personally if you want a film that captures the Motivation husband, depressed teenager, coke sniffing grandad, frumpy kid, and a uncle that tried to kill himself, with these charactors stuck in a VW van for a 800 mile journey it sounds like a great idea for a movie, WRONG!!! I can see why some people may find this a good film but for me it felt that the film just didn't go anywhere. Personally if you want a film that captures the plain goofyness of various charactors then I suggest watching Napolean Dynamite. Expand
  9. IgorG.
    Jan 14, 2007
    5
    Overrated. It never ceases to amaze me how an audience will sit through a 100-minute flick in silence except for two or three laugh-out-loud moments, then label the thing "hilarious," and "hysterically funny." Come on people, raise your standards -- don't give modest efforts like this rave reviews just because they have a few moments of poignancy and chuckles.
  10. MikeW.
    Jan 14, 2007
    5
    Very overrated. Mildly amusing in a few spots but predictable. I was disappointed given all the "rave" reviews.
  11. OsloN.
    Feb 18, 2007
    4
    I am stunned this movie was nominated for best picture. I don
  12. JackB.
    Feb 21, 2007
    6
    The film had its moments, but overall it had this annoying, unsubtle sense of self-importance and preciousness that just didn't sell me. Maybe it was too much DeVotchka and Sufjan and wistful facial expressions.
  13. CaseyF.
    Mar 2, 2007
    4
    I wanted to like this movie, I really did. The film is not bad, yet it is terribly overrated. It kept my eyes pointed toward the screen, but not much more. The characters are very much "end of the spectrum" types: the motivational speaker dad is extra anal about motivation, the angst-filled teenager is extra angsty, etc. etc. I waited for the meaningful moments, the lessons about life to I wanted to like this movie, I really did. The film is not bad, yet it is terribly overrated. It kept my eyes pointed toward the screen, but not much more. The characters are very much "end of the spectrum" types: the motivational speaker dad is extra anal about motivation, the angst-filled teenager is extra angsty, etc. etc. I waited for the meaningful moments, the lessons about life to show up, but they stayed home. This film is rather predictable and bland from beginning to end, which I found to be surprising, given how promising it looked from the trailer. This film getting a best picture nomination by the "Academy" really pushes home the message that there must be back-scratching and such favors going on when it comes time to pick nominees. Again, it's not bad, just a rather generic ups-and-downs dysfunctional family film with a fuzzy happy ending. Expand
  14. DavidG
    Nov 12, 2006
    6
    Cute, mildly entertaining, with quirky funny moments. But highly over-rated. Are people so starved of a moving, funny drama that they must give exaggerated praise to such mediocrity? I'm one to give very high praise to a movie that moves me deeply, I am not a cynic like the many movie critics who simply put down most anything. This movie was merely cute, and had its moments. I found Cute, mildly entertaining, with quirky funny moments. But highly over-rated. Are people so starved of a moving, funny drama that they must give exaggerated praise to such mediocrity? I'm one to give very high praise to a movie that moves me deeply, I am not a cynic like the many movie critics who simply put down most anything. This movie was merely cute, and had its moments. I found the ending offensive, and with little of the "genuinely outrageous and uplifting" character that so many saw in it. I do not feel it made its point well, except in the sense of "preaching to the converted." I saw a child actress made to perform a lewd scene: whether it was in gest, or to make a point, or not, it depicted the sexualization of a child, leading to audience laughter. Expand
  15. RachellaW.
    Dec 10, 2006
    6
    Good but not great. The film has some funny moments and scenes, but there's nothing particularly moving nor engaging about it. Some elements seem deliberately cute, and potentially involving scenes are rushed as easy buttons are pushed. Some characters, particularly the grandfather, are merely quirky for quirkiness's sake. The script, overall, is rather thin, and the directing Good but not great. The film has some funny moments and scenes, but there's nothing particularly moving nor engaging about it. Some elements seem deliberately cute, and potentially involving scenes are rushed as easy buttons are pushed. Some characters, particularly the grandfather, are merely quirky for quirkiness's sake. The script, overall, is rather thin, and the directing is wildly uneven. Greg Kinnear and Toni Collette are very good in rather slight roles. Steve Carell shows significant range in another underdeveloped role. Expand
  16. DaveC.
    Sep 12, 2006
    4
    Although I a lot of craft went into this. It was all in the name of manipulating the audience. [***SPOILERS***]The faux-iconography of the dysfunctional family traveling in a VW minivan was pathetic and embarrassing. Characters with whom we should apparently be sympathizing (i.e. Dwayne and Frank) are relegated to the film's narrative periphery very early on. Even My Big Fat Greek Although I a lot of craft went into this. It was all in the name of manipulating the audience. [***SPOILERS***]The faux-iconography of the dysfunctional family traveling in a VW minivan was pathetic and embarrassing. Characters with whom we should apparently be sympathizing (i.e. Dwayne and Frank) are relegated to the film's narrative periphery very early on. Even My Big Fat Greek Wedding was more "indie" than this. What use is this film to anybody PAYING to see it? Expand
  17. TerryR.
    Jan 21, 2007
    6
    Horrible ending, in true "independent" film manner. Amusing but puh-leese, not a "best of" in any sense.
  18. Sep 1, 2012
    6
    A pleasant film that is not as good as everybody says. There is nothing wrong with the film, but to say it is worthy of a best picture nominee is a stretch. How the hell did that old guy win best supporting actor.
  19. Mar 31, 2015
    6
    Used to like this movie a bunch. The quirky characters, the disfunctional family all united on a mission to get the youngest to a pageant in Cali. On the surface a very simple movie but developed very slowly. If you're impatient you can miss what is worth watching.
  20. Jun 3, 2014
    6
    I do not know what makes Little Miss Sunshine a comedy; it is a pure drama with great acting and heartwarming performances with a cute tone. On the other hand, I think people are over-impressed by this production - the changes the extreme characters go through are admirable however I do not think this is justified - all problematic members of a group going through the same story arch andI do not know what makes Little Miss Sunshine a comedy; it is a pure drama with great acting and heartwarming performances with a cute tone. On the other hand, I think people are over-impressed by this production - the changes the extreme characters go through are admirable however I do not think this is justified - all problematic members of a group going through the same story arch and getting healed by the process is kind of impossible if they are characterized that way (I am not talking about their mood but their characterization based on a life experience). I like the presence of a bigger picture based on the small events and characters in the writing; subtle and effective; but if you really think about it the movie has almost no context so I doubt that it is something that has to be watched again. Expand
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. 70
    It's the journey that offers the most enjoyment. Well, that and the beauty pageant climax, which I won't spoil here, but is one of the funniest scenes from film in recent memory.
  2. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    63
    Diverting and often funny enough, largely thanks (as is not unusual in cases like this) to its cast.
  3. A brainy blend of farce and heart, this is one of those movies that veteran moviegoers complain they don't make anymore.