UK Release date: 8th September 2006
Watched on DVD Monday 9th April 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I bought this DVD several years ago by mistake and it has lurked at the back of my collection ever since. Having heard several good things about it I decided to take the plunge and give it a look. I was pleasantly surprised; it wasn’t the usual ‘dysfunctional family’ cliché ridden rubbish I was expecting. No, it was so much better than that and I must say I even enjoyed it! I will give you my thoughts after this brief summary.
There are six main characters; first there’s seven year old Olive Hoover who has won a place in the finals of the ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ beauty contest. Then we have the mother, Sheryl, harassed as all mothers are in these films and Richard, the father, he has business problems that are causing friction with Sheryl. The fifteen year old son, Dwayne, hasn’t spoken for nine months; he has decided that until he achieves he ultimate goal of becoming a fighter pilot, we will not speak. The grandpa, Edwin, who swears, takes drugs and really doesn’t much care what the others think of him, apart from Olive (of course). Finally, there’s Sheryl’s brother, Frank, who has just attempted suicide and cannot be left alone. This unlikely collection has to get Olive the 700 miles to the beauty contest in a broken VW Camper van in just two days. What could possibly go wrong?... Well, I’ll leave it there or the Spoiler Police will be having me towed (again).
Now I’m not usually a fan of comedies, but the humour in this one is so dark that I actually enjoyed it! Very well made with some great dialogue and some characters that I could actually relate to (makes a change!). All the performances were great; the young Abigail Breslin did a great job as Olive Hoover and I really loved Alan Arkin as Grandpa Edwin Hoover, he really nailed it! Greg Kinnear as Richard Hoover and Toni Collette as Sheryl Hoover both did a good job. I thought Paul Dano as Dwayne also did a good job and Steve Carell showed what a good actor he can be as Frank Ginsberg.
As road trip movies go, I must say that this is the best one I’ve seen in quite a long time. The mix of characters and the way they interact works pretty well and I found the film quite engaging (I even laughed a few times!). Yes, some of the situations they got themselves into were a tad far-fetched, but I can forgive that (this time) because the characters actually had some substance. Would I watch it again? Yes I would and so I have no problem in deeming this one… Recommended.
My score: 8.2/10.
IMDb Score: 7.9/10 (based on 194,846 votes at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 91/100 (based on 205 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 90/100 (based on 379,546 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
Richard: There's two kinds of people in this world, there's winners and there's losers. Okay, you know what the difference is? Winners don't give up.
Grandpa: Are you gettin' any?
Grandpa: You can tell me, Dwayne. Are you gettin' any?
Richard: Come on, please.
Grandpa: [Dwayne shakes his head] No? Jesus. You're what? Fifteen? My God, man!
Grandpa: You should be gettin' that young stuff.
Grandpa: That young stuff is the best stuff in the whole world.
Richard: Hey! Hey! Dad! That's enough! Stop it!
Grandpa: Will you kindly not interrupt me, Richard! See, right now you're jailbait, they're jailbait. It's perfect. I mean, you hit 18, man! You're talkin' about three to five.
Olive: What are you guys talking about?
Grandpa: [thinks for a moment] Politics.