7.8/10
433,178
952 user 254 critic

Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Trailer
0:17 | Trailer
A family determined to get their young daughter into the finals of a beauty pageant take a cross-country trip in their VW bus.

Writer:

Michael Arndt
Reviews
Popularity
1,245 ( 236)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 70 wins & 112 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Abigail Breslin ... Olive
Greg Kinnear ... Richard
Paul Dano ... Dwayne
Alan Arkin ... Grandpa
Toni Collette ... Sheryl
Steve Carell ... Frank
Marc Turtletaub ... Doctor #1
Jill Talley ... Cindy
Brenda Canela ... Diner Waitress
Julio Oscar Mechoso ... Mechanic
Chuck Loring ... Convenience Store Proprietor
Justin Shilton ... Josh
Gordon Thomson ... Larry Sugarman
Steven Christopher Parker ... Teen Boy #1
Bryan Cranston ... Stan Grossman
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Storyline

In Albuquerque, Sheryl Hoover brings her suicidal brother Frank to the breast of her dysfunctional and emotionally bankrupted family. Frank is homosexual, an expert in Proust. He tried to commit suicide when he was rejected by his boyfriend and his great competitor became renowned and recognized as number one in the field of Proust. Sheryl's husband Richard is unsuccessfully trying to sell his self-help and self-improvement technique using nine steps to reach success, but he is actually a complete loser. Her son Dwayne has taken a vow of silence as a follower of Nietzsche and aims to be a jet pilot. Dwayne's grandfather Edwin was sent away from the institution for elders (Sunset Manor) and is addicted in heroin. When her seven-year-old daughter Olive has a chance to dispute the Little Miss Sunshine pageant in Redondo Beach, California, the whole family travels together in their old Volkswagen Type 2 (Kombi) in a funny journey of hope of winning the talent contest and to make a dream ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Everyone just pretend to be normal See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some sex and drug content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One VW bus that Greg Kinnear drove during filming of this movie is on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. See more »

Goofs

When Olive is testing Dwayne's vision, she is holding the color-blindness pamphlet test, which Dwayne takes away. In the next shot, he is holding the test, but when the camera goes back to Olive, she is still holding the pamphlet. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Richard: There are two kinds of people in this world, winners and losers.
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Alternate Versions

The DVD contains four alternate endings:
  • Alternate Ending # 1 had the family stop at a rest stop the next day as they're driving back home. Richard talks fondly about Grandpa, and then the family toasts to his memory. You actually can't hear the dialogue, since the only audio option is for the director's commentary on this ending. Basically, the filmmakers thought that it was too sappy (since it was too sunny during the scene) and so they stopped filming.
  • Alternate Ending #2 had the family handcuffed at the security office at the hotel. The security guard tells them that Olive is disqualified from the competition and that they are released, under the condition that they are banned from entering beauty pageants in California again. He releases the family members, and they start to walk out of the lobby. Sheryl places a crown on Richard's head, who in turn places it on Olive's head. As they exit the hotel, Richard asks "who wants ice cream?"
  • Alternate Ending #3 had Olive running out into the lobby of the hotel, acting as a lookout, as you can hear everyone else arguing off-screen about stealing the trophy. She signals that the coast is clear, and so the others run out of the hotel carrying the trophy (while Frank wears the crown).
  • Alternate Ending #4 is the same as #3, but it's extended. Title cards detail the family stealing the trophy from the room, running down the hall, running out of the hotel, running into the van, and driving off.
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Connections

Referenced in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #22.23 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

La Llorona
Traditional
Performed by DeVotchKa
Courtesy of Cicero Recordings, LTD.
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User Reviews

 
Probably the best comedy of 2006.
9 December 2006 | by Pavel-8See all my reviews

Comedies about families usually come in one of two genres. Often featuring dysfunctional families (are those two words redundant?), they are either broad and goofy ("Cheaper by the Dozen") or dark and abstruse ("The Royal Tenenbaums"). Driving its Volkswagon bus down the middle of these two extremes is "Little Miss Sunshine", a comedy both inclusive and exclusive, one that some will get entirely, while others will whiff on to the same degree.

The title stems from a beauty pageant in which seven-year old Olive (Abigail Breslin of "Signs") competes. For a good portion of the film, the contest serves as a MacGuffin of sorts, putting an already odd mix of family members on the road in bizarre situations that call Vegas Vacation to mind.

But "Sunshine" is far more than the slapstick of "Vacation". It mixes humor both broad and subtle humor into a strange brew of comedy, poignancy, lessons, and life. Huge and deep issues are addressed, topics like death, dreams, and failure. Yet somehow the movie doesn't feel heavy. You'll walk out with a smile on your face because the movie sensibly touches on these issues, realizing that stuff happens and life continues, that the handling of adversity is often what defines people. And above all, there is family, which you're stuck with, for better and worse.

"Sunshine" may not grab you right away, which is part of its power. It burns slowly, introducing the family members to the viewing outsiders through observation, then putting the viewers in the bus with them as they enter a foreign world. All this is done without lapsing into melodrama and without losing steam as the movie chugs toward the climactic final scene, continuously building momentum along the way, before promptly getting out on top.

Rather crude at times, "Sunshine" is not a movie for children, nor is it for anyone who takes life or movies too seriously. But if you excel at finding the askance humor in life and film, then you will relish this offbeat look at a collection of family dynamics perhaps only slightly stranger than most, although definitely more extreme.

Bottom Line: One of the year's best, and likely its best comedy. 8 of 10.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 August 2006 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Little Miss Sunshine See more »

Filming Locations:

Acton, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$370,998, 30 July 2006

Gross USA:

$59,891,098

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$101,058,954
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | SDDS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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