Film Review: Little Miss Sunshine

by Pat Johnson

Before walking into the theater, I knew this movie had all the tropes of success. It was a Sundance hit. It had a talented cast. And it got the reviews and positive buzz needed to push it from the metropolitan art houses out to the distant theaters of Pullman Washington. It had to be good right? Right. This isn't one of those rhetorical questions where I stun you with a twist. Little Miss Sunshine is awesome. It's been a long while since I saw a truly great dark comedy. LMS may not be as bleak as War of the Roses or Heathers, but you'll laugh at terrible misery just the same.

LMS has a road trip structure; complete with a horrifying destination (I now have a secret hate for little girl pageants) that reminds you "the joy is in the journey." The characters are all well-defined and lovable. Expect to hear people talk about early Oscar buzz, Steve Carell especially. You get to see the characters at their worst, which usually translates to seeing the actors at their best. It is now 12 hours since I saw it and it's still on my mind. Certain moments, jokes and scenes keep replaying in my head. It's a sign of a classic. LMS may not be for everyone, but it works.

11 scenes that make you want to laugh and cry (out of 11)