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Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

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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
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Popularity
1,347 ( 75)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 70 wins & 111 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Abigail Breslin ... Olive Hoover
Greg Kinnear ... Richard Hoover
Paul Dano ... Dwayne
Alan Arkin ... Grandpa Edwin Hoover
Toni Collette ... Sheryl Hoover
Steve Carell ... Frank Ginsberg
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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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:

$100,523,181
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | SDDS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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

A bad clutch could not be overcome to jump start the way they do it. The engine would turn over whenever they pushed the vehicle, causing too much resistance to get the vehicle going.

They'd still need to disengage a clutch to push the van, accelerate to starting speed, then pop the clutch to turn over the engine. That's what they appeared to do in the film.

If it had a bad starter, one could use the technique in the film. See more »

Quotes

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

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.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Logan (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

America the Beautiful
Written by Katharine Lee Bates (uncredited) and Samuel A. Ward (uncredited)
[Incorrectly credited as Traditional]
Arranged by Weba Garretson, Bob Remstein, and Mark Wheaton
Performed by Matt Winston
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
One Of The Best Movie "Gifts" I've Gotten This Year...
26 July 2006 | by cchaseSee all my reviews

It is very rare to see a movie that can charm the hell out of an audience without the use of special effects, worn-out clichés and bombastic action set pieces these days. It's even more ridiculous to hope that you will see such a film for FREE. But that's exactly what happened to me tonight at a sneak preview of LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE.

I "discovered" this movie right here at IMDb, having heard not a peep about it beforehand. By the time I finished watching the second trailer for the THIRD time, I was floored...and hooked. Luckily, the Bulletin Boards steered me toward the proper link to access sneak passes for tonight's showing, and all I can say is that it will not pain me one bit to pay for the privilege of seeing this gem a second time.

Assembling the best and most unlikeliest of ensemble casts you may probably see all year, SUNSHINE on the face of it is a relatively (pun intended) simple story. Little seven-year-old Olive (Abigail Breslin) has one wish in life: to be considered for the finals of the Little Miss Sunshine Pageant in Redondo Beach, CA. When her big chance comes at the most unexpected time, it's up to her unbelievably fractured family to pull themselves together and make it happen for her, no matter what it takes.

And what it takes is a sad, painful, tragic and yet unendingly hilarious trek in a barely operational VW bus from Albequerque, NM to the Pageant. And although getting there is only half the fun and family drama, you have got to see what happens to believe it when they finally arrive and Olive gets to "do her thing." The strong cast sounds not a single false note, and when the more touching moments arrive, they don't seem forced the way they would in most other big-budget behemoths, because these moments are truly earned. But WHAT a collection of characters this is. Greg Kinnear is letter-perfect as Olive's judgmental, failed motivational-speaker father; Steve Carell finds new shades of darkest despair and human comedy as her suicidal gay uncle, a leading Proust scholar; Paul Dano does amazing things with little more than facial expressions as Olive's older brother who's deep into Nietzche and a vow of absolute silence, and Alan Arkin, though he has played this kind of role with both hands tied behind his back and his eyes closed, still shines like a crazy diamond as her cantankerous and hedonistic grandfather.

And barely holding this motley crew together is Toni Collette, who amazes by playing a mother again and yet manages not to portray the role exactly the same way, (you might recall her Oscar-nominated turn as Haley Joel Osment's put-upon mom in THE SIXTH SENSE.) I'm not at all familiar with the work of the two directors, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, or the writer, Michael Arndt, but they have definitely raised the indie film bar with this effort. Not a single moment is wasted; not a single scene is in this film without having a reason for being there, and it's all character-driven. There's also nothing fluffy about it - commentary about everything from how twisted our pop culture can be, to how our drive for being #1 winners can blind us to all of the things that are the most important are all there under the bittersweet laughs and tears for the audience to discover.

I can't recommend this one highly enough. And I can't wait to see it again.


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