Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

A family of misfits try (and fail) to be normal.

A Father (failing motivational speaker), Mother (hiding cigarettes to alleviate stress), Uncle (suicidal Proust scholar), Grandpa (drug user, kicked out of his retirement home) and Brother (silent, Nietzsche aficionado) all cram into a VW van and hit the highway. Their only common bond is the love of a little girl and desire to let her live out her dreams of pageant glory. But can they coexist, and keep the van running long enough, to get her there in time?

Despite being released right as Carrell was hitting the big time, it’s the entire ensemble that makes this road trip as funny and heartening as it is. At first, the group struggles to get through a meal without breaking into an argument. But as time goes on, and outside obstacles pile up, they band together as only a family can.

You don’t have to be a Super Freak to appreciate this cult flick, but it helps.

Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris.
Starring Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Paul Dano, Abigail Breslin and Alan Arkin.
101 minutes – Rated R

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