After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.
David O. Russell
Robert De Niro
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
Dwayne is actually from a previous marriage of Sheryl's. She says toward the beginning "he visited his dad in Florida", and a wedding photo is shown with him in it, but much younger. Olive however is not, because her last name is Hoover, the same as her father's. See more »
When Sheryl is backstage with Olive before going on for the talent competition, the little girl who does the Navy-style dance is seen being primped in the background. When Dwayne is seen running down the corridor to prevent Olive from going on, the same little girl is seen walking through the hallway. When the scene cuts back to Sheryl and Olive, the little girl is still there. See more »
There are two kinds of people in this world, winners and losers.
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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.
Hilarious! I loved this fun, but slightly dark comedy
We were happy to have had the chance to see this at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. I loved the cast: Greg Kinear, Toni Collette, Alan Arkin, Abigail Breslin, Paul Dano and Steve Carrell were ALL marvelous as the dysfunctional family. Little Miss Sunshine refers to a pageant to be held in California (the movie never states where the family lives, but most of the road scenes were definitely in the Phoenix, Arizona area. (added 8/2/06: I know now that the movie is set in New Mexico, for those of you who are interested in that sort of thing!)
The story follows little Olive, a normal child, who by a fluke wins her way into the finals of the Little Miss Sunshine pageant. The family decides they must accompany her in their old VW bus, so a road trip ensues.
The final third of the movie, which deals with the actual pageant, is by far the funniest part of the film. It illustrates, with great hilarity, the frightening people who are involved in child pageants. You can't help rooting for Olive, who is refreshingly normal amongst the frighteningly plastic other contestants.
(After discovering that I was in the (opposite of loved it) category on IMDb, I changed my subject line, because this was one of the best movies I've seen all year!! I LOVED IT)
This is NOT a movie for children. After reading through some other user comments, I have to say I'm dismayed by the amount of people complaining about the F word. This movie is rated R, mostly because of its frequent use of the F word, along with some drug use. If you do 5 minutes of research before you go to a movie, you should educate yourself as to WHY a movie is rated the way it is. If you are offended by swearing, then, if you go to a movie that is rated R because of language, be prepared to be offended! Okay, I'm off the soapbox. This is NOT a movie for children.
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