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7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 541 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 89 out of 541
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  1. Aug 25, 2014
    8
    A unique road movie with a whole lot of heart and soul. Michael Arndt writes one exceptional screenplay to support this ensemble of incredibly talented actors. Yes, Alan Arkin and Abigail Breslin are brilliant, but so are Steve Carell, Toni Collette and Greg Kinnear.
  2. Jul 7, 2013
    10
    The Hoovers have dreams. Dad Richard imagines himself becoming the next Tony Robbins. Mom Sheryl dreams of a big happy family. Grandpa wants to go out in a blaze of glory. Uncle Frank longs to be recognized as the nation's pre-eminent Proust scholar. Brother Dwayne wants to be a fighter pilot. And then there's Olive. The pudgy, bespectacled 7-year-old wants to be Miss America. Put all ofThe Hoovers have dreams. Dad Richard imagines himself becoming the next Tony Robbins. Mom Sheryl dreams of a big happy family. Grandpa wants to go out in a blaze of glory. Uncle Frank longs to be recognized as the nation's pre-eminent Proust scholar. Brother Dwayne wants to be a fighter pilot. And then there's Olive. The pudgy, bespectacled 7-year-old wants to be Miss America. Put all of these dreams in an old VW van and send them to Southern California for a beauty pageant, and you get Little Miss Sunshine. This is the first feature-length project for the husband and wife directorial duo of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, both highly respected for their work in the music video world. Perhaps nicknamed the "Little Movie That Could," Little Miss Sunshine took five years to make and, thanks to its warm reception at 2006's Sundance Film Festival, is finally seeing a U.S. release—albeit in limited theaters. As its Sundance pedigree might suggest, Little Miss Sunshine has an eccentric veneer, but don't let that fool you. The script is far more conventional than its indie pop soundtrack (DeVotchKa and Sufjan Stevens provide the highlights) would have you believe, right down to unfortunate blips on the narrative radar involving porn magazines and state troopers that could have come straight from Super Troopers and a moment of sibling bonding that's all but gift wrapped. This said, there is a zany ethos to Little Miss Sunshine that, despite its most clichéd moments, stokes a lovely poignancy in this look at family life and the capacity for hope in the face of absurdity and calamity. Much of the absurdity is provided by the Little Miss Sunshine contest—the attempt to get there and the pageant itself. The garish makeup and skimpy dresses on the pre-pubescent contestants is all the more jarring after spending much of the movie with the gawky Olive. Indeed, her presence at the pageant and her cringe-inducing "talent" are a sort of defacto exposé on the darkness that lies just beneath the sparkly sequins. Each of the family members is, in one way or another, grappling with darkness in their own lives. Indeed, the script does a commendable job of presenting distinct characters—each person a universe of motivations and morals unto themselves—instead of presenting them as one griping and moaning familial mass. As such, different viewers are likely to resonate with different characters. And yet, the bond forged by their proximity to each other—by the fact they're family—is undeniable. I don't think it's a coincidence that the broken down VW van eventually requires a group effort to get in gear. The cast is universally strong. Toni Collette doesn't seem to be physically capable of turning in a poor performance, as I have yet to see her do so since she burst onto the scene in 1994's critically acclaimed Muriel's Wedding. As a suicidal academic, Steve Carell proves his acting mettle extends far beyond his comedic turns in TV's "The Office" and last year's blockbuster The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Greg Kinnear, as Richard, uses his innate likeability to make even the most annoying of characters sympathetic. Thankfully, Richard's desperate need to be a winner is road kill on this trip. As is Grandpa. Alan Arkin's a dirty old man with a heart of gold (or at least silver). Expand
  3. Mar 31, 2012
    2
    It should be called a little piece of garbage. The characters are unappealing and classless add on top they were annoying. No idea why the grandfather won supporting actor. The story wasn't interesting at all and wasn't funny.
  4. 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 possible. And yes, it is one of the best movies of the year.
  5. Nov 15, 2012
    8
    Little Miss Sunshine transcends the family road movie, and though it feels a little incomplete when the end roles around, we still had a great time all the way through.
  6. 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.
  7. Jun 26, 2013
    8
    Really funny and heartwarming film as the family turns it around. All of the actors did well, the script was really well done and the directors did an awesome job. Deserves the accolades and acclaim its received.
  8. Aug 17, 2013
    10
    It's not too often that family films tug so endlessly on the heart strings, or a film which offers real and genuinely funny moments, characters and adventures all on a road trip to the most unlikely of places for the most unlikely of people. The film is a true example of how it's the simple things which change the rules entirely, and Little Miss Sunshine offers a range of characters allIt's not too often that family films tug so endlessly on the heart strings, or a film which offers real and genuinely funny moments, characters and adventures all on a road trip to the most unlikely of places for the most unlikely of people. The film is a true example of how it's the simple things which change the rules entirely, and Little Miss Sunshine offers a range of characters all with different dreams, hopes and outlooks in life, and they all come from the same family.
    The comedy road trip is a cunning and daring attempt to break from the clutches of similar scenarios and situations, we have some of the most interesting characters to grace the screen who all embrace their part and set the standard, we have the mother, Sheryl (Toni Collette) who struggles to look after her two children and her depressed brother Frank (Steve Carell) who recently attempted to commit suicide, her work-oriented husband Richard (Greg Kinnear), a motivational speaker who simply cannot catch a break, Edwin, played by Alan Arkin, the sharp-tongued grandfather who is very close to one of the children, Olive (Abigail Breslin), who is the little girl with big dreams and who truly lights up the screen in every possible way. She has been accepted into a beauty pageant 800 miles away and the whole family reluctantly agree to take the trip to support the young girl.
    Paul Dano plays the other child, a 17 year old who broods and speaks very little during the film as he is having a vow of silence until he fulfils his dream of being a test pilot. Each member of the family have their own grievances which come into play as the film unfolds, and they realise just how much they need each other. The film holds many messages of family values but its underlying themes really hit home the most, it categorises everything in life into simple reactions from other people, preparation, dreams, routine and perseverance, but also despair. Its at these moments that realisation can hit, whether something may not be for you or if you simply don't fit in, its not down to anybody else to say otherwise, being yourself is the most important part and the point of it all.
    Much like the job of Richard, the film is subtle and light-hearted life lesson from the excellent writing of Michael Arndt, who holds the equally brilliant Toy Story 3 credit to his name, he manages to use various situations that can be summed up through equal means, Olive is the little girl who lets nothing get her down, and Abigail Breslin simply fits the role like a shoe. Steve Carell plays a character who has seen it all and simply isn't happy with it, and needs his dysfunctional family around him. Greg Kinnear delivers a riveting performance of a man who doesn't seem to pay close attention to his family, but this the exact reason why he struggles through, to support his family and not be seen as a failure. There to bring a realisitc approach to their situations is Alan Arkin, who tells it as it is and nothing more.
    A masterful yet subtle film that weaves in and out of every detail of a simple problem and lays it all out on the table to try and work out, with fantastic performances from each cast member who offer various explanations from their characters perspective that make this a must see show for a bit of comic relief and to get a lesson in being yourself.
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  9. Oct 24, 2011
    9
    Little Miss Sunshine revels in the fact its cleverer than you are and that is not an insult. This highly intelligent black comedy is so fast paced, hilarious and bizarre that not only will you laugh pretty much the entire 90 minutes but you will struggle to keep up. The story tells the tale of Olive (Abigail Breslin) who has qualified for a beauty pageant in California so her parents (GregLittle Miss Sunshine revels in the fact its cleverer than you are and that is not an insult. This highly intelligent black comedy is so fast paced, hilarious and bizarre that not only will you laugh pretty much the entire 90 minutes but you will struggle to keep up. The story tells the tale of Olive (Abigail Breslin) who has qualified for a beauty pageant in California so her parents (Greg Kinnear and Toni Collette) decide to go on a trip in their old camper van across the country. They are joined by Oliveâ Expand
  10. 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.
  11. Mar 11, 2013
    10
    It provides some of thee best performances in film hiistory, Little Miss Sunshine is fun to watch not only as a crazy family comedy but also as a serious and thoughtful drama as well.
  12. Jul 16, 2013
    8
    Excelente actuacion por parte de todos destacando el trabajo de Abigail Breslin, la pelicula ronda como una familia totalmente separada de lo que es una familia buena y comun, todo estaba destrozado todo el mundo por su lado, una pelicula que deja mucho que pensar.
  13. 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 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 ArkinLITTLE 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. Expand
  14. Oct 16, 2011
    9
    The journey of a dysfunctional family to their youngest child stardom leads us into a satirical, poignant and really funny adventure.
  15. Jul 5, 2013
    8
    This dysfunctional family may at first seem unbelievable. As the film progresses, they become so familiar! And loveable! You cannot help but laugh with the little (and outrageous) things that occur in their lives! Although issues like drug addiction and suicide are touched upon, it is done in a sensitive matter. By the end of the film you feel euphoric and uplifted!!! PS Excellent actingThis dysfunctional family may at first seem unbelievable. As the film progresses, they become so familiar! And loveable! You cannot help but laugh with the little (and outrageous) things that occur in their lives! Although issues like drug addiction and suicide are touched upon, it is done in a sensitive matter. By the end of the film you feel euphoric and uplifted!!! PS Excellent acting from all!!! Expand
  16. Jul 27, 2013
    10
    Little Miss Sunshine, winner of the Sundance Film Festival in 2006, is a dark comedy about life, love, and finding purpose in life. It is delightfully simple, funny, and heartwarming. It will make you laugh, make you angry, and possibly cause you to shed a few tears. If you are into the indie genre Little Miss Sunshine is not only a must see, but a must purchase for your personal collection.
  17. Jul 8, 2012
    10
    Absolutely brilliant. These are the sort of films that should always be made, feel good and heart-warming. We start with a family torn apart but by the end, brought together by their daughter, Abigail Breslin. Breslin is brilliant at embodying the feeling of childhood and how at that age we all have a dream. Alan Arkin is even better, gibing a short but memorable performance as the heroineAbsolutely brilliant. These are the sort of films that should always be made, feel good and heart-warming. We start with a family torn apart but by the end, brought together by their daughter, Abigail Breslin. Breslin is brilliant at embodying the feeling of childhood and how at that age we all have a dream. Alan Arkin is even better, gibing a short but memorable performance as the heroine taking grandfather, every scene he steals with his kind but foul mouthed ways. Steve Carrell gives a performance also which should have given him an Oscar nod. But, the best part of this film is the script, not many films have a script that give a sense of realism and humour (the scenes where the family push the van our by far the best), and give a chance for all actors to shine. It is such a simplistic formula, but the writers take advantage by adding side stories and real depths to these characters so it feel like they themselves our telling the story as if we know them. The movie as a whole is superb with at the most one flaw, everything just seems to work perfectly and put all the good things you need in a film together what do you get? Little Miss Sunshine. Expand
  18. 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
  19. Feb 20, 2012
    9
    it's a classic. It's a refreshing movie with good actosr. It's a dark in some ways but you feel good after seing it. The atmosphere, the colors are perfect. Jason Reitman made one of his best movie with '' Little Miss sushine '' .
  20. Aug 4, 2014
    9
    This film is darkly comic and has a great acting and character development. It some cheesy scenes though. This multiple academy award winning movie deserves it's awards.
  21. Jun 23, 2012
    0
    Absolutely brilliant. These are the sort of films that should always be made, feel good and heart warming. We start with a family torn apart but by the end, brought together by there daughter, Abigail Breslin. breslin is brilliant at emboding the feeling of childhood and how at that age we all have a dream. Alan Arkin is even better, gibing a short but memorable performance as the heroineAbsolutely brilliant. These are the sort of films that should always be made, feel good and heart warming. We start with a family torn apart but by the end, brought together by there daughter, Abigail Breslin. breslin is brilliant at emboding the feeling of childhood and how at that age we all have a dream. Alan Arkin is even better, gibing a short but memorable performance as the heroine taking grandfather, every scene he steals with his kind but foul mouthed ways. Steve Carrell gives a performance also which should hve guven him an oscar nod. But, the best part of this film is the script, not many films have a script that give a sense of realism and humour (the scenes where the family push the van our by far the best), and give a chance for all actors to shine. It is such a simplistic formula, but the writers take advantage by adding side stories and real depths to these characters so it feel like they themselves our telling the story as if we know them. The movie as a whole is superb with at the most one flaw, everything just seems to work perfectly and put all the good things you need in a film together what do you get? Little Miss Sunshine. Expand
  22. Mar 29, 2014
    10
    This is a beautiful film. A lovely message, really inspiring. The acting is fantastic, unusually good for some young actors. Steve Carell gives an excellent performance, making me wish he was in more serious films. Fantastic film. Really.
  23. Jan 26, 2012
    8
    story is just awesome
    direction=no complex..simply go on according the story
    message is just fantastic...learnable comedy with laughs.
    so i like it
    i like it
    i like it
    v
    i like it
    i like it
    i like it

    i like it

    i like it
  24. Mar 14, 2012
    9
    Little Miss Sunshine is one of those movies that you could keep watching over and over again and not get bored. It's an Heart Felt movie about the importance of "family together can beat the odds". It delivers brilliant performances by Alan Arkin, Steve Carell, Greg Kinnear and little Abigail Breslin. Toni Collette is the mother who holds the whole family together, and Paul Dano deliversLittle Miss Sunshine is one of those movies that you could keep watching over and over again and not get bored. It's an Heart Felt movie about the importance of "family together can beat the odds". It delivers brilliant performances by Alan Arkin, Steve Carell, Greg Kinnear and little Abigail Breslin. Toni Collette is the mother who holds the whole family together, and Paul Dano delivers a solid performance as the Color-Blinded Dwayne who dreams of becoming a jet pilot. It's a shame that many don't like it, but it's definitely a 'Solid A' Movie which is beautifully directed. Expand
  25. Aug 23, 2010
    10
    At heart of such a familiar story are characters that shine above their own archetypal conception. The progression of the narrative is fluid enough, but the performances ensure the films distinction. The characters would not be believable, or nearly as compelling, were it not for their unwitting dependence on one another. The family is mutually deceiving, but each with the best ofAt heart of such a familiar story are characters that shine above their own archetypal conception. The progression of the narrative is fluid enough, but the performances ensure the films distinction. The characters would not be believable, or nearly as compelling, were it not for their unwitting dependence on one another. The family is mutually deceiving, but each with the best of intentions. Road trip films are nearly classified as there own genre with such a distinctive structure and pay off. Comedian, Mitch Hedberg said, Im sick of following my dreams. I am just going to ask where they are going and meet up with them later. In Little Miss Sunshine, dreams both guide and antagonize the six people trapped in the yellow VW bus.

    A lack of control haunts the actions of the family. In one of the more focused scenes in the film, the son Dwaye, played aptly by Paul Dano, acknowledges his own limitations with poignant vocalization. Dwayne craves autonomy more than any other in the film and is grounded by a new found genetic disadvantage. In attempting to blame his family, from afar, it only provokes his sister closer. She is unaffected by his sentiments because his true nature contrasts the outburst in her mind. It is her intimate knowledge of Dwayne that enables the film to move on.

    In this sense, the movie can be viewed as an interpersonal puzzle. Alone, each character is indistinguishable of something whole. It is only when pushing on together that they get anywhere. The goals of each individual become dwarfed by the sense of unity birthed from their 800 mile adventure. Significantly, it is young Olives naive hope to be Little Miss Sunshine that creates a consciously shared and cherished moment between all characters, dead and alive. Olives determination destroys her fathers notion of winners and losers. Surrounded by people in denial about themselves, Olive embraces the contradictions, consequently providing a metaphoric mirror for the rest.

    The film celebrates failure. Within the winning film, are desperate losers. Steve Carells, Uncle Frank, discusses the necessity of suffering. Being introduced to him after a failed suicide attempt, Franks words seem genuine despite their irony. The diverse talent of Carell is most acutely witnessed as he reacquaints himself with the family at the dinner table. The intrusion of Frank into his sisters family plays as a blessing in a family needing of fresh, albeit fatalistic, perspective.

    Little Miss Sunshine depicts family as an undefinable ideal. The movie grows much the way a family does; not often in expected directions, but forever adapting to inevitable change. It isnt until the family sees the path they have taken, before they realize they have a home to return.
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  26. May 21, 2013
    8
    I really enjoyed this movie as living in a country saturated by US culture, I appreciated how slyly this film managed to satirise it.

    On top of that, the characters were beautifully rich, all of them with fatal flaws yet lovable all the same, and there were a number of beautiful comedy moments.
  27. Jul 28, 2014
    10
    Although few realize, is a movie nothing obvious that uses metaphors to talk about life, the stereotype and conformism. Is much more than a story about winning or losing, is a story about living, try, fall, and after push our van to the right path. It's delicious, is complex and is unforgettable. A movie to never forget.
  28. Sam
    Sep 7, 2006
    10
    One of the best movies I've seen in years. It's a perfect and satisfying blend of bittersweet plot and stinging social commentary. Wonderful performances by everybody, especially Carell.
  29. SherylG.
    Aug 20, 2006
    10
    Loved this film, laughed out loud for the first time in ages in a theater. Steve carell was at his best comic (and understated self). also loved the young actress who played Olive, unaffected charming young child actress.
  30. AustinW.
    Aug 9, 2006
    9
    Really fantastic. Great performances, and some great laugh out loud moments. I understand the sitcom comparisons, but there's a subversive undertone that really makes it sing.
  31. JoeC.
    Sep 7, 2006
    9
    Believe the hype. My girlfriend and I haven't had this much fun at the movies in a long, long time.
  32. DavidR.
    Jan 28, 2007
    0
    How about putting this in bold font across the top of the DVD box, "The Most Overrated Film of the Decade." Look I know a good movie when I see one and never let the hype get to me. I thought Sideways and Lost in Translation were well deserving of their praise when they came out and were nominated for Best Picture but this was a joke. Let's go over a few of the stand-out scenes How about putting this in bold font across the top of the DVD box, "The Most Overrated Film of the Decade." Look I know a good movie when I see one and never let the hype get to me. I thought Sideways and Lost in Translation were well deserving of their praise when they came out and were nominated for Best Picture but this was a joke. Let's go over a few of the stand-out scenes **Spoiler**: Alan Arkin uses countless expletives for no reason at all until he finally dies, Carell mispronounces Proust about fifteen times, Paul Dano mopes around for two hours then turns into the grandfather and curses uncontrollably for no reason, and finally the movie climaxes with a so-quirky-she's-cute kid stripping in a beauty pageant. Chevy Chase must be rolling in his grave right now thinking about this poor attempt at remaking his comedy classic. And can we talk about Steve Carell's underacting? It seems he went into a coma sometime around the start of production and hasn't come out of character since. You can watch his eyes in the film carefully read over the cue cards off screen while trying not to fall asleep. Expand
  33. Evieb.
    Jan 30, 2007
    0
    I felt totally conned by this movie. I can just imagine the Fox poeple at Sundance thinking, "Those arty blue-staters LOVE quirky indie comedies like this, with their ironically suburban aesthetics and implausible motel sets that mimic 'Wallpaper' spreads from 1999!" The script was total garbage; I could hear its rusty gears creaking throughout, especially during the exposition I felt totally conned by this movie. I can just imagine the Fox poeple at Sundance thinking, "Those arty blue-staters LOVE quirky indie comedies like this, with their ironically suburban aesthetics and implausible motel sets that mimic 'Wallpaper' spreads from 1999!" The script was total garbage; I could hear its rusty gears creaking throughout, especially during the exposition scenes when the writer had to contrive a way for the entire family to agree to take the road trip. I think Little Miss Sunshine might be my least favorite movie of all time. No doubt it will win best original screenplay at this year's Oscars. Expand
  34. AL.
    Feb 4, 2007
    0
    This movie is wretched. The characters are unappealing and classless. I couldn't root for any of them. Just gross. Who would let their kid act in this junk?
  35. MichaelH.
    Feb 5, 2007
    9
    I loved it! No, nothing blows up and nobody winds up getting hacked to death but that's half of the appeal of this film. All of us know the wanna-be successful dad. All of us know the chain-smoking mom in denial, pretending that if she doesn't acknowledge that her husband is a failure, her brother is suicidal and her daughter has no chance of winning the pageant that it all I loved it! No, nothing blows up and nobody winds up getting hacked to death but that's half of the appeal of this film. All of us know the wanna-be successful dad. All of us know the chain-smoking mom in denial, pretending that if she doesn't acknowledge that her husband is a failure, her brother is suicidal and her daughter has no chance of winning the pageant that it all doesn't exist. Excellent job by Michael Arndt, the producers and directors. Best of luck to LMS as Best Picture of 2006! Expand
  36. Jess
    Feb 6, 2007
    1
    Just how did this made-for-TV movie make it into theaters? If I make a video of my fat little sister dancing in front of a televised beauty pageant with my cliched grandparent swearing in the background, can I go to Sundance too?
  37. AbbyR.
    Oct 20, 2006
    7
    Is winning really everything?
  38. PaulKane
    Jul 20, 2006
    10
    By far, the best drama/comedy I have seen this year. Everything about this was near perfect: the casting, the acting, the character arcs, the storyline, and even the score/soundtrack. I couldn't stop laughing throughout the entire movie. If you have an interest in this, you MUST see it in the theater.
  39. LindaD.
    Aug 12, 2006
    10
    This movie is a wonderful grin! If you need one, go see it. Couldn't find one thing wrong with it.
  40. NancyH
    Aug 5, 2006
    9
    Loved this movie--and I kid you not, one of the best mainstream movies I've seen all year. This quirky, dysfunctional family is not so dysfunctional after all when they come out of their own worlds to rally behind Olive, the youngest in her quest to win Little Miss Sunshine child pageant. The contrast between this kooky family and the pageant enthusiasts will certainly make youLoved this movie--and I kid you not, one of the best mainstream movies I've seen all year. This quirky, dysfunctional family is not so dysfunctional after all when they come out of their own worlds to rally behind Olive, the youngest in her quest to win Little Miss Sunshine child pageant. The contrast between this kooky family and the pageant enthusiasts will certainly make you question what is normal? Expand
  41. GaborA.
    Aug 6, 2006
    7
    The trailer made it seem like this movie was going to be some indie, high brow, artsy film but as stated it really was more like a sitcom. Fortunately the comedy though silly is never really juvenile and the drama manages to not be cheasy. Entertaining but like a sitcom episode easily forgetable.
  42. Maubius
    Sep 10, 2006
    8
    I laughed out loud quite a bit. Very funny, and highly recommended.
  43. FedUp
    Sep 1, 2006
    1
    Tremendously overrated. Artsy and cute but nothing more. NOT fulfilling in the least.
  44. J.W.
    Sep 15, 2006
    10
    This family puts the fun in dysfunctional. Creative, out of the box, and unexpected turns in this movie had us laughing so hard we cried.
  45. NatalieP.
    Sep 2, 2006
    10
    hyseterical and heartbreaking at the same time. The performances are pricless.
  46. CB
    Sep 3, 2006
    9
    Owen Gleiberman is retarded. This is one of the best indie comdies since Swingers. I don't know anyone that didn't love it.
  47. Ann
    Sep 6, 2006
    2
    The only reason I sat thru this film was to see as much of Alan Arkin as possible. Yes, everything was funny, but just too much. Best
  48. staubin
    Sep 7, 2006
    9
    I'm not one of those people who laughs out-loud in movie theaters, but this movie made me do that... over a dozen times. Awesomely funny.
  49. KristinP.
    Jan 13, 2007
    9
    Hysterical, heart warming story.
  50. JamesM.
    Jan 22, 2007
    7
    I had heard the critics say how good this movie is so I wantedI enjoyed the movie. I laughed at the funny antics like everyone else but I really started to get interested in it after I began to add up all the pieces of Alan Arkin's character and came to the conclusion that he's a child molester. There are so many signals that this might be true through out the movie that it I had heard the critics say how good this movie is so I wantedI enjoyed the movie. I laughed at the funny antics like everyone else but I really started to get interested in it after I began to add up all the pieces of Alan Arkin's character and came to the conclusion that he's a child molester. There are so many signals that this might be true through out the movie that it becomes kind of sad. Sad because we, the audience, like the family are totally oblivious to the fact that he is probably molesting her the whole time he's in the movie. Because it's played by Mr. Arkin we think that this character is just a harmless heroin sniffing, foul mouthed porn magazine toting old man that just happens to share the hotel room with his granddaughter. The child is so innocent that she sees nothing wrong with sharing the strip tease he taught her to Rick James' "Super Freak" and the parents had no idea what he was teaching her. Even the shots of the little girls in the pageant remind you of JonBenet Ramsey and make you think "what's going on here?". Expand
  51. BM.
    Oct 2, 2007
    10
    What a refreshing burst of fresh air in the comedy/drama genre. There is not a moment in this movie where the comedy seems forced or the acting overdone. Every ridiculously funny part of this movie is completely believable. Even the script is written and delivered in that rough unpolished way that makes you think these are 'real' people and we are a fly on the wall in there What a refreshing burst of fresh air in the comedy/drama genre. There is not a moment in this movie where the comedy seems forced or the acting overdone. Every ridiculously funny part of this movie is completely believable. Even the script is written and delivered in that rough unpolished way that makes you think these are 'real' people and we are a fly on the wall in there insane lives. Everyone involved in this movie deserves a very big pat on the back. We need more real comedies like this. Expand
  52. ReeceS.
    Jan 31, 2007
    0
    They tricked me, and stole my money.
  53. CarolynS.
    Jan 8, 2007
    10
    Great movie from start to finish. This had me laughing one minute to holding back tears the next. Well-written & acted, I hope this movie gets nominations in every category. A++ all around. Abigail did a wonderful job in this film.
  54. PatC.
    Feb 1, 2007
    8
    Good show, almost great. So delicious that one tends to ignore the spillage when it goes over the top. As entertainment that rings true it's immediately gratifying, but the contrivances linger.
  55. 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.
  56. SabrinaD.
    Feb 23, 2007
    2
    Just because you leave the theater with a smile on your face doesn't mean it's a good movie. It means you like to see awkward little girls prosper and enjoy their childhood. Who doesn't? But everything leading up to these few minutes of Breslin enjoyment are painful to sit through and show no signs of humor at all. A for effort from Abigail but everything else failed miserably.
  57. Bob
    Feb 3, 2007
    0
    Awful!
  58. JulioM.
    Feb 4, 2007
    9
    At the end of this movie I felt warmth in my heart.
  59. ElliotP.
    Feb 4, 2007
    8
    A fun movie, well-done, even though the plot has been little over-done.
  60. Tania
    Apr 16, 2008
    3
    Mystifyingly bad. Oh, how I wanted to like it. Cliched characters assembled on a screenwriters factory line, with nary a breath of life in them (save Breslin, lovable without ever being cloying), a plot creakingly contrived from start to finish. Not one moment of this film rang true (ok, one - the sweet scene where Alan Arkin's 'foulmouthed grandpa' - i imagine this is what Mystifyingly bad. Oh, how I wanted to like it. Cliched characters assembled on a screenwriters factory line, with nary a breath of life in them (save Breslin, lovable without ever being cloying), a plot creakingly contrived from start to finish. Not one moment of this film rang true (ok, one - the sweet scene where Alan Arkin's 'foulmouthed grandpa' - i imagine this is what he was dubbed in the screenplay - assures Breslin's wannabe beauty queen that she is beautiful. Really - and this is the film at its most touching.), nevermind tickled the funny bone. Replete with gaping holes in character motivation/ development you could drive a truck through (the son wants to be a fighter pilot, so he took a vow of silence. This leads us conveniently to 'funny,' furious scribbling in a notepad, ' i hate everyone'. Teenage angst has never been so subtle!). Even the supposedly laugh-out loud finale felt heavy-handed and like a desperate, mean, and inexplicable ploy for laughs. Finally, it just felt so slight - at film's end, a great big shrug is all I could muster. Expand
  61. MichaelT.
    Aug 9, 2009
    9
    I am amazed by some of the reviews here. If anyone here trusts user-submitted reviews, I beg you you to ignore any that are full of finger-shaking hyperbole and excessive use of first-year university words. This film is heartwarming, funny and charming. It's one of the few films I will watch when I want to be cheered up. It's Disney for tax-payers.
  62. 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... Collapse
  63. DaveP.
    Dec 7, 2006
    10
    Drawn from the same font as Sideways, full of dark humour, revelation, flaw and sunshine. I did not expect to be so drawn in, and the time flew so quickly I had to double-check the time when it finished. And yes, one of the most memorable and 'funny' climaxes ever filmed.
  64. Fresh
    Aug 10, 2006
    10
    Best movie I have seen in a few years.
  65. ColinM.
    Aug 12, 2006
    10
    A funny, bittersweet piece with an outstanding ensemble. Extremely enjoyable and quite possibly the best film of 2006. Plenty of hilarious moments right alongside heartfelt family emotions. Highly recommended movie.
  66. DavidK.
    Aug 14, 2006
    10
    Without question the best movie I have seen in 2006.
  67. Jennie
    Aug 14, 2006
    10
    Great little pic. Recognizable disfunctional family members with characters that will stay with you and ring true. Not a side splitting laugh riot a minute... that's not what it's about. But it is funny, witty and poignant... in a Capraesque sort of way. Fantastic casting! Kudos to all!
  68. 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.
  69. DaleM.
    Aug 20, 2006
    10
    This movie made me laugh so hard that my sides ached. On top of that, it had something to say about what it really means to be a winner. This movie is a winner!
  70. JaclynW.
    Aug 23, 2006
    10
    This movie was an extremely good movie. It was a wonderful satirical movie. It was filled with touching moments, hilarious moments, and even sad moments. This movie is a must see!
  71. DWilly
    Aug 5, 2006
    7
    While it teeters at times at the not-so-good edge, there are enough surprises and substantial quality work to make it ultimately gratify. It gets far by jolting the heart with its tried and true theme: family is an insane mess that nonetheless sustains; the same one that's carried the Simpsons, Malcolm In The Middle, Married With Children, etc. No real standout performances, butWhile it teeters at times at the not-so-good edge, there are enough surprises and substantial quality work to make it ultimately gratify. It gets far by jolting the heart with its tried and true theme: family is an insane mess that nonetheless sustains; the same one that's carried the Simpsons, Malcolm In The Middle, Married With Children, etc. No real standout performances, but everyone holding up their end. Expand
  72. 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.
  73. TracyB.
    Aug 6, 2006
    8
    Clever and enjoyable film- many twists that I did not see coming. Great cast.
  74. BrianJ.
    Aug 6, 2006
    9
    Includes 5 of the most wonderful minutes in film history.
  75. JonM.
    Sep 14, 2006
    9
    Superb. Charming, witty, biting, funny, moving, a film that brings redemption for a season nearly devoid of inteligent and entertaining film. A delight to watch from first scene to last.
  76. ConradV.
    Sep 2, 2006
    8
    If you take this as light comedy with occasional trenchant satire to give it some depth, it's a lot of fun. If you take it too seriously and try to give it "deep meaning," it's too shallow to support that much weight. No matter; it needn't be this year's Grand Social Indictment - do you actually KNOW anyone who's deeply involved in little-girl beauty pageants? I If you take this as light comedy with occasional trenchant satire to give it some depth, it's a lot of fun. If you take it too seriously and try to give it "deep meaning," it's too shallow to support that much weight. No matter; it needn't be this year's Grand Social Indictment - do you actually KNOW anyone who's deeply involved in little-girl beauty pageants? I don't - and on its own terms it never flags and seldom sashays into cliche. As might be expected, Alan Arkin runs away with the honors, but Abigail Breslin comes awfully close, and there is no weak link anywhere in the ensemble. Expand
  77. BrianT.
    Sep 26, 2006
    7
    Well acted and enjoys perfect casting but this movie is vastly overrated. It's funny in parts but just not all that entertaining overall.
  78. GaryE
    Sep 27, 2006
    9
    Went in expecting the usual American drool however was surprised. Funny yet sad and very well acted.
  79. AdrianG.
    Sep 30, 2006
    10
    I love this movie because how raw and real it is.
  80. Charles
    Sep 5, 2006
    2
    Little Missed Opportunity. Great cast, good music, God-awful script and directing. [***SPOILERS***] Often I felt bored waiting for the characters to do what was obviously going to happen, eg. everyone must take trip, body out of hospital, whereas motorcycle journey and confronting agent serves no purpose whatsoever. Poorly crafted. Recovery from grandpa's death happened awfully Little Missed Opportunity. Great cast, good music, God-awful script and directing. [***SPOILERS***] Often I felt bored waiting for the characters to do what was obviously going to happen, eg. everyone must take trip, body out of hospital, whereas motorcycle journey and confronting agent serves no purpose whatsoever. Poorly crafted. Recovery from grandpa's death happened awfully quickly! How did mom have no clue what her daughter was wearing? How did dad the schmo instantly turn into Mr. Good Guy? Character development is not the same as plot-convenient transformation. Expand
  81. KenGleason
    Sep 5, 2006
    9
    Maybe it's my love of dyfunctional family movies (makes me feel better about my own), but I thought this movies was well-acted, scripted and heartfelt...and funny. The cast works well together, and, really, is there better overall actress than Toni Collette? Paul Dano, last seen by me in the terrific L.I.E. is a revelation.
  82. Nik
    Sep 5, 2006
    10
    MOST PHENOMENAL MOVIE i have seen in a LONG time. I have not laughed so out loud in a theater until i saw this movie. it is so great because its got such great character development and you connect with all of them. i think this movie deserves ALOT of credit for doing something genuine and unique.
  83. Rev.Rikard
    Sep 9, 2006
    9
    At last, a movie that redeems a very ordinary year in film. This is National Lampoons' Vacation with a ton of humanity thrown it. As we witness the agony of dreams crushed by a superficial society, we eventually arrive at the film's destination: ultimate meaning is experienced in relationships of genuine substance. This is one of the few films that allows us to experience the At last, a movie that redeems a very ordinary year in film. This is National Lampoons' Vacation with a ton of humanity thrown it. As we witness the agony of dreams crushed by a superficial society, we eventually arrive at the film's destination: ultimate meaning is experienced in relationships of genuine substance. This is one of the few films that allows us to experience the destruction of the insignificant and realization of the precious as we join a family in a Volkswagon Van. Expand
  84. Anymouse
    Jan 1, 2007
    8
    Very good film! Good actors, touching story. I loved it for its atmoshere and for its characters. It was worth watching, thought i think, that the ending is a little bit lame.
  85. JohnnyC.
    Jan 10, 2007
    10
    Over-hyped but still an amazing film!
  86. MartinS.
    Jan 13, 2007
    9
    One of the best movies I've seen all year. Would have given it a 10 but found the competition scenes a bit cliched. Excellent performances all around.
  87. JHW
    Jan 15, 2007
    1
    I understand that the story tells about all the troubles this broken family goes through, but I just didn't know what point the movie was trying to make. They callled it comedy, but there wasn't really anything to laugh about. In fact, the end comes quite suddenly, it doesns't even have a scene that reconciles the entire situation and puts the family back into one piece. I I understand that the story tells about all the troubles this broken family goes through, but I just didn't know what point the movie was trying to make. They callled it comedy, but there wasn't really anything to laugh about. In fact, the end comes quite suddenly, it doesns't even have a scene that reconciles the entire situation and puts the family back into one piece. I just don't get it. Expand
  88. Matt
    Jan 2, 2007
    10
    Best movie of the year and one of my new favorites. It's almost a quest story really, involving a trouble-plagued journy and each character facing their own demons.
  89. EthanR.
    Jan 2, 2007
    3
    Okay. What we've got here is an R rated comedy about a young girl named Olive entering a beauty padgent. To do that her family need to take a little road trip. This shouldn't be a comedy first of all because there's barely any comedy. It's more like drama. But this movie is so stupid and pointless. The son won't talk because he took a vow of silence. He took a vow Okay. What we've got here is an R rated comedy about a young girl named Olive entering a beauty padgent. To do that her family need to take a little road trip. This shouldn't be a comedy first of all because there's barely any comedy. It's more like drama. But this movie is so stupid and pointless. The son won't talk because he took a vow of silence. He took a vow of silence because he wants to be a pilot. It doesn't make much sense. The uncle is a homosexual man who tried to kill himself because he didn't get the guy he wanted. The grandpa is an annoying person who takes drugs and swares a lot. The father is so annoying. The mom is probobly one of the only normal people in the family. The story line was so bad. They take some 1 and a half day roadtrip to a beauty pagant. It didn't take an intelligent guy to write the script. BORING! STUPID! DON'T GET IT!!! OR RENT IT! Expand
  90. 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.
  91. BurrrT.
    Jan 28, 2007
    9
    The people who rated this movie lowly either didn't finish watching the film or went in expecting one thing and can't forgive the directors for giving them something else. Yes there were small holes in the plot but each performance was excellent, nothing was crammed down your throat, and the ending was one of the funniest in recent memory.
  92. MarkJ.
    Jan 2, 2007
    8
    A truly touching summer film. At its humourous best it had traces of the sibling rivalries of Chevy Chase's National Lampoon Vacation movies, but what makes it great is a superb cast delivering highly personable characters, allowing for great empathy from all walks of life.
  93. Eugenia
    Jan 30, 2007
    0
    I had to vote cause I thought the movie stank! I walked out of the film before the old man died--probably only the second or third film I've ever walked out of. This film Did Not Work! "Harold and maude" (a quirky independent film about disfunctional folks) worked. This film did not! It's absolutely pathetic it's been nominated for anything. Ensemble? Please. Thank God I had to vote cause I thought the movie stank! I walked out of the film before the old man died--probably only the second or third film I've ever walked out of. This film Did Not Work! "Harold and maude" (a quirky independent film about disfunctional folks) worked. This film did not! It's absolutely pathetic it's been nominated for anything. Ensemble? Please. Thank God Altman (the great ensemble director) is dead. It's a sham. I thought it was big in Santa Cruz because someone local was a director (or something). I suppose when "Crash" beat out "Good Night and Good Luck" last year it was time to give it all a rest. The little was cute--let's hope her career lives through this experience. Expand
  94. Nadie
    Feb 11, 2007
    10
    Americans doing what they do best, laughing at themselves. Simple and well acted, this movie reminds us that you can find beauty in low budget films.
  95. ryanjonas
    Feb 2, 2007
    0
    when the movie ended, i immediatly packed it up and sold it to the local Game Stop......i had to get this peice of crap out of my home
  96. AshleyRussell
    Feb 3, 2007
    10
    Great movie
  97. 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.
  98. 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
  99. JimmyH.
    Feb 6, 2007
    10
    Loved the movie. It captures a certain feeling that is timely. I found it to be original and hilarious. Great cast. Each member had an endearing quality (even grandpa!). Frankly I don't understand all of the zeros being given to this movie. I don't know what people expect from a good film. Maybe they're more into your Armageddon-type movie. Who knows. Well to each his own, Loved the movie. It captures a certain feeling that is timely. I found it to be original and hilarious. Great cast. Each member had an endearing quality (even grandpa!). Frankly I don't understand all of the zeros being given to this movie. I don't know what people expect from a good film. Maybe they're more into your Armageddon-type movie. Who knows. Well to each his own, but I loved this flick. Expand
  100. BradenR.
    Feb 7, 2007
    9
    Classic! It's going to be the next movie that every college kid has on DVD.
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. Reviewed by: Duane Byrge
    80
    A brainy blend of farce and heart, this is one of those movies that veteran moviegoers complain they don't make anymore.