Thursday, March 15, 2007

cindy's movie review

When I go to a movie, I go to relax, to be entertained, to smile and feel good. I can find all the other elements I need to be a well rounded paranoid anxiety ridden wreck in my daily life, thank you very much so I mostly avoid any movie that sounds like it could add to that mix. But imagine my surprise when I finally got a chance to see Little Miss Sunshine and found that I’d entered the best of both worlds. I relaxed. I was entertained. I smiled. I felt good – all during the course of a movie whose cast of characters were living a well rounded paranoid anxiety ridden wreck of a life. A two-fer. Cool.

Here’s the official premise for Little Miss Sunshine that I lifted from the official home page: “What happens when you stuff a failed motivation speaker, his wife, the nation's number one Proust scholar, an elderly potty-mouthed heroin addict, a teen who’s mute by choice, and a bespectacled little pageant hopeful into a mini VW bus for a three day road trip? You get this hilarious but moving satire about a dysfunctional family obsessed with winning. Credit must go to the ensemble cast that includes Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Alan Arkin, and Abigail Breslin and the delightfully funny script by Michael Arndt, which first-time directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris handled perfectly.

"Little Miss Sunshine" is an American family road comedy that shatters the mold. Brazenly satirical and yet deeply human, the film introduces audiences to one of the most endearingly fractured families in recent cinema history: the Hoovers, whose trip to a pre-pubescent beauty pageant results not only in comic mayhem but in death, transformation and a moving look at the surprising rewards of being losers in a winning-crazed culture.”

This latent movie critic couldn’t agree with the synopsis more. I LOVED this movie. Was thoroughly surprised that it met all of my expectations. It was touching, sweet, quirky, and chuckle worthy. I’m a huge Steve Carell fan (never miss The Office) and he didn’t disappoint me in his role as the gay, out of work scholar. And the finale, when our little heroine performs her ‘talent’ portion of the Little Miss Sunshine competition as taught to her by her sex-on-his-geriatric-mind grandfather (Alan Arkin) is too funny for words.

In short, if you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and rent the DVD. It’ll give you all the feel good you can handle. If you have seen it, I’d love to hear your take on the movie.


Debra Dixon said...

Cindy-- I haven't seen LMS but I've heard so much about it that it's in my queue at NetFlix. Several of my friends are rabid OFFICE fans and never miss.

Helen Brenna said...

I LOVED it. The acting was impecable. It was funny, yet had a wonderful message. Yes, dysfunctional families do okay sometimes. One of my favorites for the year.

Christie Ridgway said...

Everyone is recommending I see it, Cindy. I'm looking forward to it! And I just bought Casino Royale (I saw it on the first day it came out at the movies and have been waiting for the DVD breathlessly) so I have lots of movie-watching to do.

Diane in Syracuse said...

I saw this film on a cross-country flight and both the young man next to me and I laughed hysterically! The reaction of the "pageant moms" when the little girl does her talent (innocently and openly pointing out the hidden content of their own young competitors' programs) is absolutely priceless.

Lots of uncomfortable moments for the family on the skids, but they hold together.

Susan Kay Law said...

You know, I liked it, but I didn't love it. I think I had too high of expectations; everybody told me it was so wonderful that it just couldn't live up.

If I hadn't known anything about it, I might have enjoyed it more.

Funny how expectations work that way.

I think I just wanted something, finally, somewhere, to go right for them.


Cindy Gerard said...

That happens to me too, sometimes. the hype gets you so excited there's no way it can live up to it.
On the other hand, I was disappointed by Christie's review of Music and Lyrics but went to see the movie anyway and I loved it. I chuckled all the way through - starting at the very beginning with the 80's band parodies all the way through to the very predictable ending. Maybe it was because my expectations were low and I was in a mood that opened me up to being easily entertained. Yeah, it was cheesy but those two were so cute together and some of the one liners were hysterical. anyway, I liked it.

Betina Krahn said...

Unfortunately "Little Miss Sunshine" was a "miss" for me. Maybe I wasn't in the mood for it, maybe I was just expecting something sweeter. . . it seemed dark and not especially humorous to me. Every character was too flawed and I couldn't see any hope on the horizon for any of them. The overall effect --with prospect of that hideous child beauty contest looming over them-- was just demoralizing. (I kept seeing little Jon Benet Ramsey all gussied up and seductive. Shudder.)

Usually I love quirky and even truly unbalanced characters. . . Lord knows I've written my share. But when EVERYBODY in the piece is majorly flawed and dysfunctional, I can't seem to latch on to anybody. I so wanted to like the little girl-- who looked a lot like ME when I was seven or so-- but the director kept me too distant. I kept worrying about her. . . what with her sex-obsessed grandfather "working" with her constantly and in apparent seclusion. Made me uncomfortable. And the thought of what she would face at the pageant was dread inducing.

I really wished I could have LOVED this movie. AS it was, there were a few chuckles and a good guffaw at the end. . . but more than enough squirms to negate them.

Ack! Does this mean I have unresolved family issues?

Cindy Gerard said...

What it means, Betina, is that we all have different tastes :o) Unless, of course, you'd like to share some of your unresolved family issues with us and they we can decide if you have anything to worry about :o)