Let the Sun Shine In
Bailey has already favorably reviewed Little Miss Sunshine, but let me add my (and Mrs. Bartender's) wholehearted endorsement to this movie. It's a fairly simple, fairly short road movie about a very dysfunctional family on their way to the Little Miss Sunshine competition (yes, a beauty pageant for 7 year olds) with a lot of hijincks, sadness, and, of course, new connections. The Joan Benet Ramsay want-to-bes are truly frightening, and the acting is first rate--Steve Carell continues to enter new territory as an outstanding actor, and the actress playing Olive (the 7 year old) is amazing. I only fear how much longer The Office will last before Carell decides to only do movies.
One very small nit, and you will think I am a complete geek for raising this (although we have already had a discussion of road geekdom on this board). To drive from Albuquerque to Redondo Beach, CA (near LA), as the protagonists are, one would normally take I-40 across AZ into CA where it ends at I-15 and then to I-10 (or the 10 as they say in LA). (I did this drive a decade ago.) Now, because one of the characters had a reason to go to Scottsdale, AZ (outside of Phoenix), I could see going out of the way by taking 40 to 17 (or cutting across AZ on state highways) and then taking the 10 to LA. To go through Phoenix adds mileage but makes sense with the plot (although they are supposedly rushed to get to CA!). Here's my beef: at one point early in the movie, you see the van getting on (or at least going towards) I-10. Later, you see the van at an intersection, on what has to be I-40, where the choice is between taking I-17 toward Phoenix or proceeding to LA on I-40. But we have earlier seen the I-10 sign and it is not possible that the van would have been on or near I-10 by this point. Just a small editing blunder, I know, but if this is my big beef with the movie, it is indicative of how much I enjoyed it. I think that you too can get over this small issue.