Little Miss Sunshine revisited (SPOILERS)

Am I the only one left scratching their head after this film going “where was the funny?”
After having to hear how great this film was from my wife having seen it this summer with her friends, “We were all laughing so hard, the theatre was laughing”, and the 92% approvals on Rotten Tomatoes I was really looking forward to it. I liked the cast, I liked quirky films like Napoleon Dynamite, Rushmore, etc. I really went in hoping for the best.
So we got the DVD, and about 30 minutes in I had to ask “Does it get funnier?”

Everything just seemed very cliche’ and predictable. Like I had seen all the gags before in different movies.

-Grandpa dies and they sneak him out and throw him in the back of the van.
Okay, didn’t they do that with the Aunt on National Lampoon’s vacation? But it was funnier cause they straped her to the top of the car?

-The grumpy wise cracking Grandpa. Didn’t I just get through watching a half a dozen seasons of Peter Boyle being grumpy on Everyone Loves Raymond? With funnier lines?

  • Little girl beauty pageant with a snobby lady that runs it. Very, very cliche. At least Chrstie Allie was crazy-snobby in Drop Dead Gorgeous and a lot funnier.

-Going cross country in an old beater that has the door fall off. Seen it already in Planes, Trains, & Automobiles and Tommy Boy.

-Moody teenager who hates everyone and won’t talk to them but then comes to love everyone. Didn’t I see her in Uncle Buck?
I’m sorry. I really, really wanted to like this film. I was just disappointed when I got to the end and realized I hadn’t laughed once.

So, what were the funny parts?

No, you’re not the only one, Hampshire. I really looked forwaqrd to seeing it based on all the hype and really, really *wanted * to like it, but it just fell short. As much love as I have for Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Alan Arkin and especially Steve Carrell, I didn’t care one whit about any of them. I hate, hate hated emo boy (maybe that speaks about the talent of actor that played him, since we weren’t really supposed to like him) and Little Miss Sunshine herself got on my nerves quite a bit.

I’m not sorry I saw it, but I could very well have waited until it was on dvd.

I went expecting not to like it much, but I did. A lot!!! Sorry it didn’t work for you.

I loved it when I saw it in the theater. I bought the DVD on Saturday. YMMobviouslyV, but I really enjoyed it. There were relatively few laugh out loud moments compared to, say, Napoleon Dynamite, but that’s OK. I actually like my comedy a little dry.

You’re focusing on the gags, and there aren’t any new gags. Look at the bigger picture. The movie is about America’s preoccupation with winning. The John Hughes movies where many of these same gags appeared earlier were, by comparison, athematic. That’s the difference, and that’s why Sunshine is a truly great movie.

I was afraid when we saw it that we might not like it, but we loved it. It’s more than the sum of its parts - of course we’ve seen all the individual gags before. (Although I thought it would have been a stronger movie without the body snatching, but then the scene later with the cop wouldn’t be funny.) The best part was the family unit and the relationships within it; it was a comedy movie about a pretty realistic family, IMHO.

The dead grandfather part did bother me because it was so Family Vacation, and I thought it was too zany for the rest of the movie. The other stuff, I didn’t care about - yeah, it’s not the first roadtrip movie :rolleyes: - but Kinnear and (in particular) Carrell were both terrific, and I thought it succeeded in having an emotional base while still getting comedy from the odd situations and characters.

I have trouble accepting it as PREDICTABLE. But to me a lot of bits were presented in a cliched way and then NOT carried out to the predictable conclusion. That is what made so much of the movie brillant.

Those are two completely different scenarios. Aunt Edna in Vacation was a hated character and the audience could laugh at Clark’s crazed solution of strapping a dead woman to the roof and then dropping her off on the porch of a relative.
Grandpa in Sunshine was loved and his death (of a Heroin overdose. Yeah…that’s cliched ::note sarcasm::slight_smile: was played for dramatic effect. The entire scene in the hospital grandpa’s head is covered and a lot of the audience thought it would end up being the wrong person under the sheet. Because that’s the joke we’ve seen a lot more of. Stealing the body from the hospital is the insane payoff to the scene…which is connected only to Vacation by the fact that there is a body… Is “Little Miss Sunshine” ripping off “Weekend at Bernies” also?

…yeah… Well… Here we are going to have to disagree. There was never any good joke on Raymond… let alone a good line given to Peter Boyle. Arkin was far funnier and had much better lines. An old man who starts using heroin because he;;, he’s going to die soon anyway is a pretty fresh take on that scenario.

Eh… Did that character have more than 5 lines in the whole movie? IF the character wasn’t clearly a faded beauty queen it would have rang untrue.
Them going all this way and then being told they can’t compete is the cliche, someone giving an impassioned speech about they should be allowed in and the hardass caving and letting them in is the predictable conclusion of the situation. The addition of the helpful tech guy who says “Nah, its not big deal I’ll register her. It’ll only take a minute.” and who reacts like a real person in the real world was what turned that on its head.

And countless other travel movies. If they had a car that worked perfectly where’s the fun in that?

Never been around teenagers have you?

The new take on that is that the character literally has taken a vow of silence. Its not that he’s just moody and hates his family. The real problem is that there’s no way you get to 17 and not know you are color blind.

Another great examples of the unpredictable parts of the movie- Two characters have a heated discussion by a pool. No one ends up getting wet. That’s actually funnier to me than if someone ended up in a pool. It was clear that the filmmakers were just messing with us.

Plus it featured Chloe from 24. So say nice things about it or she’ll give you The Look.

And whassup with the biker guy with the earpiece at the pageant? Bored dad or perv on the prowl? I’ve been surprised at how sharply people’s opinions split on him.

I thought it was thoroughly ‘meh’. I can’t understand the hype, but am glad others (especially families) seemed to enjoy it. It was sweet but utterly uncreative and forgettable. I did like the little girl and Carell, though.

I loved it.

A movie where one by one, everybody has their dreams CRUSHED and it is a comedy.
To me it was Fear and Loathing on a Family Vacation.
The cop and the porn magazines was really frickin funny.

Once something has been done in a movie it shouldn’t be done again…ever.

Exactly. An not just about preoccupation with winning, but also about the notion that anyone who really wants something will get it. If you don’t achieve your goal you did not want it enough, you didn’t believe in yourself, you are a failure. That you and you alone are responsible for your successes and/or failures. That happiness is external and can only be achieved by gaining money/accolades/goals.

And that we are willing to sexualize pre-pubescent girls this much, but not that much…

Totally a dad - he was sweet!

Agreed. He hadn’t really been enjoying himself until Olive came along with her freak dance and made all the others look even more like the mini Barbie clones they already were.

I liked it.

My impression was that he was a perv, but the director’s commentary on the DVD confirmed he was supposed to be a bored dad.

Really? my first thought was uninterested dad. It never occurred to me that he could be a perv.

I saw the movie with a friend who’s signifigantly colorblind. We leaned over durning that scene and asked him if he could make out the number on the card, and he said yes, which would make the kid in the story even MORE colorblind than my friend. They figured my friend out at a very young age when he couldn’t tell his crayons apart. (“Timmy, why did you color Mommy’s hair purple?” “That’s purple?”). His teachers would have noticed he couldn’t tell red from green, that’s really signifigant. He wasn’t always sullen, silent, and all monocrome.

Dumb thing, otherwise I loved the movie. I hate little petty things like that that bother me later.

Yes but they needed something that would end his dream of being a fighter pilot with a sudden brutality.

Perhaps he knew he was color blind but didn’t know that would end his dream. That info was passed on by his uncle. His parents are so disinterested in their kids that they may have never thought about how the fact that he is color blind would affect his aspiration to be a fighter pilot.