Sunday, October 15, 2006

Little Miss Sunshine

I don't get it. I just don't get it. This is the movie hit of the summer? From all I had heard about this movie, I expected it to be the funniest fucking movie in years. Not even close.

Before I get labelled a hater, let me state that I did like parts of this movie. The acting was great. The last 20 minutes were indeed hilarious. But I had to sit through a lot of one-note characters, unfunny yelling, and overall mediocre screenwriting to get there. This movie felt like it was written by a guy my age who just couldn't get enough of National Lampoon's Vacation when he was a kid and used that movie as his model right down to the whole dead grandparent story line.

I really liked the character of the daughter. She was the only three dimensional character. The teenage son was painful to even look at. Greg Kinnear and Toni Collette's characters got really old really quick. Alan Arkin and Steve Carell were uniformly good though.

Overall, I think maybe this was simply a case of my expectations being raised too high. This movie definitely had its good moments. I think I would have enjoyed this more on TV. In fact, the whole thing played like an HBO family drama and might have been more suited for the small screen in the first place.

I admit that I can be awfully quick to judge a movie. In fact, I had a feeling back when this film first came out that I didn't want to see it. I don't know why - something about the title of the film and the poster and perhaps even the cast that just seemed too "indie" calculated for me. I was quite ready to be wrong when I heard how great it was. Turns out I was right (at least for me) in the first place. Hater Listmaker? Has a ring to it.

Directors: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
2006
Cobble Hill Cinemas

9 comments:

mactechwitch said...

Loved Alan Arkin (pretty much always do) Didn't do well with the loser aspects of Kinnear's character and throughout the first 40 minutes of Toni all I could think was run the f**k out of there, get away!
At a certain point in this movie, I had just had it with all their troubles. It made me sigh loudly. But the final dance scene was redemptive and I have to say that Tim has gotten belly laughs imitating the spastic hands behind the head hip thrusts at a few parties since we (and everybody else) saw this film.

lachimafilms.com said...

is it formulaic? yes. are the characters versions of characters that could have been cut and pasted from other movies? yes. does it challenge you? make you think? even a little? no, not really. that being said, it does what it does do well. it is a funny release that presents a minstrel show of a dancing dysfunctional family for 90 minutes. i don't know if it's my ever lowering expectations, or the general quality of what's out there, or just the mood i was in at the time, but i it works. it definitely goes over the top with burying them in pain from time to time (the gas station, ex-lover scene was ridiculous), but fuck it, the gag about the van never being able to stop is a solid one. and yosarian is great. and the kid was wonderful. the film would have been a disaster if she couldn't act. yes, it's cookie cutter indie film in pulling the heartstrings, but it's better than most. it tries to do too much. thinned out, quieted out, slowed down it would have been a much better film. but i'll watch it again when it's on cable. and i will laugh and enjoy myself. and i know hater listmaker will too.

Listmaker said...

alex,

i think you said the exact same thing i said but put a positive spin on it all. i thought the movie was fine, not close to be being great.

Chris Larry said...

Hater.....

I liked it, i laughed i cried what more do you want? Of course it was almost a scene by scene post-irony version of Vacation but I think that was intentional. And I live Vacation....

Hater Larry

Chris Larry said...

I mean love vacation

Listmaker said...

i prefer i live vacation.

the more i think about the movie, the more i realize that my review was based more on too high expectations than anything.

i'd give this a solid b or b-. but i went into it expecting an a or a+ based on everything i had been told.

Chris Larry said...

Seeing movies on the down side of the Hype Curve always rates sub B rating...understandable...

bri said...

I think you totally underestimate the trueness of that teenage boy from a parent's point of view. He was Wes' and my favorite part of the whole thing. It was exactly. right. We were just coming out of the summer of the Armani sulk, remember....

Listmaker said...

i don't know if i underestimated the realness of the teenager, i just hated looking at his scrunched up face for 90 minutes.