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Wick's Review

Created Jun 14, 2008 12:43AM PST • Edited Jul 21, 2019 08:02AM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Perfect 5.0

    A contemporary classic: bracing, funny and ultimately heartwarming. Little Miss Sunshine mines the modern American family – in all its dysfunctional glory – for more than enough laughs to lighten a harshly judgmental movie. The result is something lovable, real and durable, not unlike most families.

    This effects-free movie creates movie magic by combining a first-rate ensemble cast with first time writer Michael Arndt’s Academy Award winning screenplay.

  3. Really Great 4.5

    Big Stars from the past, present and future shine in this ensemble production. Alan Arkin, little known to young audiences but always a hoot, generates much of the movie’s emotional energy as a lovable grandfather with bad habits and worse language. Adorable Abigail Breslin provides most of the rest of the energy as the real Little Miss Sunshine, no matter the result of any silly pageant.

    No one plays likable-striver better than Greg Kinnear, here a modern American dreamer pitching nothing more than a “9 step” mindset. Steve Carell – unknown when cast, but a star by the time LMS hit theaters – shifts his deadpan humor a couple of clicks towards the dead end of the emotional spectrum, to great effect.

    Less impressive to me were Paul Dano and Toni Collette. The fact that Dano has received huge praise for his performances here and in There Will Be Blood seems unjustified.

  4. Male Stars Perfect 5.0
  5. Female Stars Really Great 4.5
  6. Female Costars Perfect 5.0
  7. Male Costars Really Great 4.5
  8. Perfect 5.0

    Simply a great script, deserving of its Oscar, this story crams the disparate yearnings of six modern family members into a broken down micro-bus. After the vehicle’s clutch gives out, the family has to take turns pushing it, running alongside, and helping one another aboard. Funny, yes. And an apt metaphor of the family itself.

    In short, clever and effective film making.

  9. Direction Perfect 5.0
  10. Play Perfect 5.0
  11. Music Perfect 5.0

    Perfect use of Super Freak. Rick James, RIP.

  12. Visuals Perfect 5.0

    Understated and spot on. The yellow VW bus shines both literally and metaphorically.

  13. Content
  14. Tame 1.5
  15. Sex Innocent 1.5
  16. Violence Gentle 1.0
  17. Rudeness Salty 2.1
  18. Glib 1.2

    Abigail Breslin’s Ivy character apparently got her prominent belly courtesy of a “fat suit.” Ah, showbiz!

    As for the little girl beauty pageants, apparently quite real. Freaky.

  19. Circumstantial Glib 1.5
  20. Biological Natural 1.0
  21. Physical Natural 1.0


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