Acting Normal
Little Miss Sunshine
Review by Ross Anthony

Wow, this film opens with gusto –definitely, the best first act I’ve seen on the screen in a long time. The characters are juicy and quirky and funny! And the film introduces them with flare, fire, and the understanding that the audience can be trusted to put together the back story later. During that first act, I was thinking, “Why can’t all movies be this good?”

Ah, but a film generally speaking, requires three acts. And after all that playful setup, this film goes on the road. And generally speaking, road pictures can be a bit tedious. Thankfully, “Sunshine” is strong enough to thwart that. However, it does roll into a sequence of rather contrived events/complications which seem somehow cheap in comparison to its rich characters. But because the dialogue, acting, editing, direction are all such high quality – I think audiences will easily overlook this. That said, I couldn’t overlook the convenient coincidence in the convenient store with Steve Carell’s character’s ex-lover.

And as long as I’m nitpicking a really good film here, there were two other imperfections that held back the A+ earned in the first act. 1) The picture missed a great chance to get serious, sincere, and cement it’s audiences with profound depth. I’m speaking about the hospital sequence. 2) While I had great fun with the ending, I think it went needlessly over a certain edge that it didn’t even need to go over. Sorry to be vague, but I don’t want to spoil it.

That said, it’s still a very good film, quite recommendable, enjoyable, fresh and funny. Alan Arkin is absolutely hilarious. Though, really, everyone is marvelous, what a rich cast of talent here – and smartly assembled as well.

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  • Little Miss Sunshine. Copyright © 2006.
  • Starring Abigail Breslin, Greg Kinnear, Paul Dano, Alan Arkin, Toni Collette, Steve Carell.
  • Directed by Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris.
  • Screenplay by Michael Arndt.
  • Produced by Marc Turteltaub, David T. Friendly, Peter Saraf, Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa at FoxSearchlight/BigBeach/Bonafide.

Grade..........................A- (3/4)

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Copyright © 1998-2023 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Monday, 23-Oct-2006 11:26:37 PDT