Rating: 4 stars
The summers are upon us and it’s the perfect time to rent out Little Miss Sunshine on a lazy weekend.
A dysfunctional family, where each one is completely different from the other, is set to go on a road trip from their home in Albuquerque to California. The reason? The family’s littlest member, seven-year-old Olive (Abigail Breslin), has been selected to compete in a national kid’s beauty pageant. She’s pleased as a punch, and they’re all set to leave the next morning.
The family unit comprises Olive, her father who’s a life coach, her mother who tries to maintain harmony between all, her heartbroken gay brother, a druggie, foul-mouthed grandfather, and a troubled teen who has taken a vow of silence. Now this volatile group of people must get into their Volkswagen Microbus and endure each other for the rest of the journey.
The film is essentially about the road trip, how the family fights and finally bonds with each other. They go through both happy and troubled times, uniting to supporting each other in times of need.
Once the family reaches California, we’re given a ringside view inside the world of children beauty pageants. It is horrifying to see the over-ambitious mothers dressing up their little girls in adult-like clothes, complete with bronzed legs and huge wigs. It is a symbol of how competitive human beings can get, our obsession with winning, and how cruelly we are capable of treating children for that pursuit.
Our protagonist Olive, bespectacled and pudgy around the tummy (as kids should be), is a sight for sore eyes among the weirdly grown-up looking kids, but clearly she does not stand a chance. Her mother gives her a choice, but Olive decides to compete anyway.
What happens next is unexpectedly fun and forms the best part of the movie!
The film, rated ‘R’, is laugh-out-loud with some dark and sarcastic humour included. It is perfect for a family viewing, where the children are aged 14 and above. The performances by the lead cast, especially by Abigail Breslin, are an absolute treat! Do not miss!
To prepare for filming, the directors attended several pageants in Southern California. All the girls acting as participants in the pageant, except Abigail, were veterans of real beauty pageants. They looked the same and performed the same acts as they had in their real-life pageants!