McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13The Civil War 25th Commemorative Edition DVD & Blu-ray Oct 13Aquarius: The Complete First Season DVD & Blu-ray Sep 15Justified: The Complete Series on Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13The Surface on DVD, VOD, and DIGITAL HD Sep 1

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Adele's '25' Official First Week U.S. Sales: 3.38 Milli...
Adele announces first tour since 2011 for album "25" ...
Kathie Lee Gifford's Family Reveals Her Late Husband Fr...
American Music Awards 2015: Proximity to action matters...
Brad Pitt Says He's 'Angry' at the Finance Industry Aft...
Adele Speaks Exclusively on New Music:'The Most Poignan...
'The Walking Dead' reveals Glenn's fate ...
Adele Performs on Saturday Night Live: Video ...
Blacklisted: The Inside Story of Dalton Trumbo and the ...
Ryan Seacrest Confirms All American Idol Judges Will Re...

Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

20th Century Fox presents
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

"Everybody just pretend to be normal, okay?"
- Richard (Greg Kinnear), to his adoring family

Review By: Jon Danziger  
Published: December 18, 2006

Stars: Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Paul Dano, Abigail Breslin, Alan Arkin
Director: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris

MPAA Rating: R for language, some sex and drug content
Run Time: 01h:42m:28s
Release Date: December 19, 2006
UPC: 024543403319
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- B+BA- B-

DVD Review

At some point or another, every moviegoer gets burned by the hype machine—a film has been so crazily pumped up as spectacular, exciting, hilarious, groundbreaking, whatever superlative plays best in a pull quote, that by the time you catch up with it and actually see the movie, you realize that you've been set up for disappointment. And the horses may have left the barn by now, but if you can, shut out the film-festival and award season buzz that threatens to drown out the feature, and you'll find that Little Miss Sunshine is a charming and eccentric if somewhat slight movie, a dysfunctional family road trip picture with a quirky script (that may sometimes try a little too hard), and a great bunch of actors playing some deeply flawed but surprisingly empathic characters.

Greg Kinnear is the pater of this odd little clan—an aspiring Tony Robbins, Richard is sure that his Nine Steps to Success will find a publisher and launch him to infomercial superstardom (or stave off bankruptcy, anyway). Toni Collette plays his wife, Sheryl, who's just barely holding it together—her adolescent son Duane has taken a vow of silence until he can enroll in the Air Force Academy, and her young daughter, Olive, has beauty queen aspirations. Not helping matters much is Richard's father, played hilariously by Alan Arkin, who is Olive's choreographer between cocaine hits; and in the most dire straits of all is Frank, Sheryl's brother, a Proust scholar who's in the academic gutter, broken hearted because his boyfriend has jilted him, and who has just tried an unsuccessful though deeply painful suicide attempt.

The answering machine holds a glimmer of hope for Olive's dreams of glory: she has earned a place in tomorrow's Little Miss Sunshine pageant, but she'll have to get from Albuquerque to Redondo Beach in a heartbeat, and economic circumstances being what they are, the cost of airplane tickets is just flat-out prohibitive. So we're off on a family road trip, the sextet piled into a crappy old VW van with a broken clutch, the enabler of much of the physical comedy of the piece. What's especially endearing about the movie is that the characters are portrayed with such multidimensionality, and with the kind of depth from which most Hollywood pictures recoil. (If you need a great big steaming plate of likability, don't watch this one.) In a more conventional, more boring story, Richard would be the typical autocrat, Sheryl the stage mom, Grandpa a kindly old coot, and so on. But all of them have aspects that are tremendously winning and deeply loathsome—you'll pass your judgments, but they are all sort of decent in their own way, and they're all trying really, really hard, though their severe limitations are evident, to themselves most of all.

It's also refreshing to see characters from a lower socio-economic stratum portrayed with some sophistication—they're not condescended to nor sitcommed up, and their home doesn't have the improbable look of a Pottery Barn catalog on a Sam's Club budget, the kind of thing you see frequently in Hollywood product that panders to the working class. And it feels like the script has brought out the best in the cast—Steve Carell is fantastically deadpan as Frank, for instance, and Abigail Breslin deserves special mention as little Olive. It's her dream that is the motor of the story, but she is, really, just a kid—and the climactic sequence, with her insanely inappropriate talent act performed in a cut-rate hotel conference room for a crowd full of JonBenet wannabes and their enablers, is a stitch. And it's here that the movie kind of settles back into itself—you feel sometimes on the road that the filmmakers are pushing it, or that they've been holding back, or something, and here, like their characters, they're finally able to let themselves cut loose. And the movie more or less ends there, knowing that life has frayed ends, and things aren't tied up in neat little bows, even though it's time for the credits to roll.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - P&S
Original Aspect Ratioyesno

Image Transfer Review: The widescreen is the way you'll want to go, certainly—the film was made on a relatively modest budget, but so much of it is about the call of the open road, so seeing it panned and scanned does the movie a serious disservice. Colors can be a little blotchy, but overall it's a pretty fair transfer.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Spanishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: A good atmospheric audio track, with just occasional bits of popping. The surround speakers are used with nuance and care on the 5.1 track.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish, French with remote access
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Thank You For Smoking, Sideways, Garden State, The Illusionist
4 Alternate Endings
2 Feature/Episode commentaries by directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (track one); Dayton, Faris and screenwriter Michael Arndt (track two)
Packaging: Unknown
1 Disc
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. music video
  2. soundtrack ad
Extras Review: dOc was provided only with a screener copy for review—we got two discs, actually, one with the film in widescreen, the other with it panned and scanned, and the extras on each are different, but my best guess is that the final product is a flipper disc with some bonus material on either side. The directing tandem sits for a commentary track, and, understandably, they seem a little weary—they talk about this as their last professional chore on the picture after six years of hard work. It's a lot of the usual stuff—casting, location shooting, and script development, but it's not always galvanizing. And it's probably no surprise, then, that a lot of this same territory is gone over on the second track, on which the directors are joined by the screenwriter, Michael Arndt, who talks about having conceived this as something that he himself was going to direct, on a shoestring budget.

In some ways, briefer but far more illuminating are the four alternate endings, which also come with optional commentary from the directors. The different choices don't vary wildly or force you to rethink your take on the story; but it's a great demonstration of the filmmakers trying to find just the right tone for the piece, one that's neither too somber nor too jokey. Also here is a music video for Devotchka's Till the End of Time, a song on the movie's soundtrack; and a brief ad for the soundtrack CD, featuring, of course, Mr. Rick James.

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

Frequently very funny with an eccentricity that sometimes may feel a bit too cultivated. Forget about the tidal wave of buzz that surrounds the movie, and shut out what's sure to be the inevitable if undeserved backlash, and on its own terms, Little Miss Sunshine and its charming peculiarities are likely to win you over.


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90


Microsoft Store


music, adele, 25, 3.38 million copies, nsync, no strings attached, 21, tour europe, spotify, apple music, pandora music inc., television, frank gifford, nfl hall of famer, sportscaster, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, kathy lee gifford, american music awards, talor swift, one direction, jennifer lopez, selena gomez, nicki minaj, justin bieber, movie, the big short, steve carell, ryan gosling, christian bale, michael lewis, brad pitt, hello, 19, the walking dead, amc, davod alpert, glen, heads up, saturday night live, 25 album, skyfall, nrj awards, graham norton, herbert biberman, john howard lawson, lester cole, ring lardner jr., samuel ornitz, adrian scott, albert maltz, alvah bessie, edward dmytryk, dalton trumbo, reality, american idol, ryan seacrest, mariah carey, ellen degeneres, harry connick jr., keith urban, simon cowell, paula abdul, randy jackson, steven tyler, kara dioguardi, televison, fargo, fx, kirsten dunst, jesse plemons, jean smart, jeffrey donovan, bokeem woodbine, brad garrett, patrick wilson, celebrity, bruce willis, laurie metcalf, misery, broadway debut, paris tragedy, u2, foo fighters, steven spielberg, natalie portman, book, the diary of anne frank, otto frank, swiss foundation, daytime talk, 2000 shows, justin timberlake, jennifer aniston, sequel, animated, finding nemo, finding dory, disney-pixar, diane keaton, eugene levy, inventor, hedy lamarr, google doodle, ecstasy, samson and delilah, bbc music, angelina jolie pitt, by the sea, troubled marriage, mr. & mrs. smith, gwen stefani blake shelton, country music awards, the voice, miranda lambert, jon stewart, john oliver, hbo, wonder woman, nicole kidman, amazonian warrior, gal gadot, chris pine, nick lachey, 98 degrees, pot grower, ohio, nanette lepore, oscar robertson, frostee rucker, the red bulletin, james bond, daniel craig, naomi harris, bond girl, a. o. scott, 1977, star wars, elvis, beatles, sesame street, j.k. rowling, israel, palestine, culture for coexistence, harry potter and the deathly hallows, ricky gergais, 2016 golden globes, hollywood foreign press association, jessica biel, 2015 fashion group international night of stars gala, flip phone, the power of love, huey lewis, michael j. fox, back to the future

On Facebook!
Promote Your Page Too



Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store