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"LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE"
(2006) (Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy None Heavy Minor Minor
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None None Moderate Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Minor Heavy Heavy Minor


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: A dysfunctional family must deal with their differences and idiosyncrasies as they try to drive the younger daughter out to a California beauty pageant.
PLOT:
Seven-year-old Olive Hoover (ABIGAIL BRESLIN) has always dreamed of being a beauty pageant winner, but she's also afraid of being a loser, the kind of person her father Richard (GREG KINNEAR) often disparages in his 9-step "Refuse to Lose" motivational program he's trying to market. He's the overbearing sort of parent who's always looking for success in himself and others, but his dysfunctional family has him at wit's end. His caring wife Sheryl (TONI COLLETTE) now has her brother Frank (STEVE CARELL), a Proust scholar, living with them following a suicide attempt stemming from his gay lover leaving him for another man, and Richard isn't happy about that.

Their teenage son, Dwayne (PAUL DANO), who wants to fly planes for the Air Force, is an avid reader of Nietzsche and has taken a vow of silence, writing his angry thoughts on paper, while his lascivious grandfather (ALAN ARKIN), has been kicked out of his retirement home for snorting heroin, and is now living with them. When they get word that Olive has made it into the Little Miss Sunshine pageant in California, they try to put their differences aside and drive set off from Albuquerque in their old VW bus.

Beset by various obstacles and complications over their several-day trip, they come together as a family unit with the sole goal of getting Olive entered into the pageant before time runs out.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Older teens might be interested in it, as might those who are fans of anyone in the cast.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language, some sex and drug content.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • GREG KINNEAR plays an overbearing family man who's trying to market his success-based motivational program, and thus isn't happy that he has a dysfunctional family or that he'll have to take time to drive Olive to California for her pageant. He uses strong profanity.
  • TONI COLLETTE plays his more even-keeled wife who tries to keep the family together while caring for Frank and his current state. She briefly smokes and uses some strong profanity.
  • STEVE CARELL plays her brother, a low-key Proust scholar who's recently tried to commit suicide following his gay lover leaving him for another man. He somewhat finds his purpose in life in trying to help Olive get to the pageant.
  • ABIGAIL BRESLIN plays the average seven-year-old who wants to be a beauty pageant contestant, but is worried that she might be a loser (and thus that in her father's eyes).
  • PAUL DANO plays her teenage brother, a follower of Nietzsche who's taken a vow of silence to protest his view of the world and his family (about some of whom he's bitter, except for Olive). When he does speak, he uses some strong profanity.
  • ALAN ARKIN plays his lascivious, outspoken grandfather who snorts heroin and uses strong profanity, but is also the most supportive of Olive and her dreams.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated comedy. Profanity consists of at least 30 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are uttered. Sexually explicit dialogue is present, as is a song with sexually related lyrics (heard as a 7-year-old performs a risqué act in a beauty pageant). Some porn magazines are briefly seen (showing nudity and apparent sexual acts), and a character is noted as being gay.

    Other thematic elements include talk of a failed suicide attempt, dysfunctional families, and the way in which child beauty pageants sexualize the young contestants. Tense family material (including parents arguing, the death of a family member, and a sullen teenager) is present, as is some behavior that might be enticing to imitate.

    A grandfather snorts heroin and is noted as having a problem with that, while some alcohol and tobacco use also occurs, and various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there are varying amounts of camera movement (sometimes a lot of handheld) during the movie.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Grandpa snorts heroin and then reacts to that.
  • We hear that Grandpa was kicked out of his retirement home due to his heroin use.
  • We see a still-sealed bottle of champagne in a man's store bag.
  • Some miscellaneous guys have beer.
  • We see a photo of Frank and his former lover holding glasses of champagne.
  • Grandpa takes out his heroin to ingest, but we don't see the actual use.
  • It's suggested that an older person has died from using heroin.
  • Miscellaneous people have cocktails in a hotel.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • None.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Richard has a bad attitude toward others (including Frank) who he believes are losers or have losing attitudes.
  • Grandpa gives advice to Dwayne to f*ck a lot of women," adding not one, but a lot. He then asks Dwayne if he's "getting any" and when Dwayne indicates he isn't, Grandpa tells him he should be getting the "young stuff" that he claims is the best stuff in the world. He then comments on such jailbait and says it's okay since Dwayne is also jailbait and that it will change when the boy turns 18.
  • Grandpa refers to Frank as a "homo" and later uses the term "fag rag" for a gay porno magazine.
  • Richard says not to apologize, as it's a sign of weakness.
  • Richard tells Frank to "shut up."
  • Richard tells Olive she shouldn't have ice cream since it will make her fat.
  • Richard and Sheryl loudly argue after his deal has apparently fallen through. That night, Dwayne hears them arguing through the wall.
  • Some viewers might not like that Dwayne wears a t-shirt that reads, "Jesus was wrong."
  • Richard convinces everyone to take a family member's dead body with them, so they smuggle it out the hospital window, put it in the back of their VW bus and speed away (played as dark comedy).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • For those sensitive about such matters, we see a sheet covering a recently deceased person's body.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • We see a poster showing a diagram drawing of a fighter jet with its accompanying missile array.
  • A cop wears a sidearm.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "I'm so f*cking tired," "F*ck you," "It was a f*cking paradise," "F*cked" (nonsexual), "What a f*cking nightmare," "F*ck the nine steps," "I rammed it down their f*cking throats," "I hate you f*cking people," "You f*cking losers," "F*ck that," "Life is one f*cking beauty pageant after another," "F*ck the rest," "This place is f*cked," "F*ck them," "They do that horsesh*t every weekend," "For crying out loud," "Welcome to Hell" (written), "Homo," "You dumb bastard," "What the hell?" "Fag rag," "We can tell them all to go to hell," "I'll be damned," "Total loser," what sounded like "Funky-licious" and "She's kicking ass."
  • Some kids might be enticed to imitate Dwayne and his vow of silence (where he writes his thoughts on paper).
  • Dwayne shoots the paper cover off his straw at his dad.
  • Trying to get Olive to her pageant on time, Richard drives through a parking lot gate (the moveable arm type). Later, when leaving, he does the same thing.
  • A miscellaneous man has tattoos on his arms.
  • As her talent in a beauty pageant, 7-year-old Olive (as previously coached by her grandfather who also chose her music) dances to the Rick James song "Super Freak" (that contains non-explicit, but sexually related lyrics). She also rips off her pants and then top like a stripper might (she's still clothed beneath so no skin is seen), but does some stripper like moves (including moving a boa type article across her clothed rear end). The rest of the family then eventually joins her and dances to the song, including Dwayne doing some pelvic thrusts to the beat.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • Rick James' song "Super Freak" contains sexually related lyrics.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 30 "f" words (3 used sexually, as is the term "getting any"), 3 "s" words, 1 slang term for male genitals ("Johnson"), 3 hells, 2 damns, 1 ass, 1 crap, 1 S.O.B., 4 uses of "G-damn," 3 of "Oh my God," 2 each of "Oh God" and "Oh Jesus" and 1 use each of "Christ," "For God's sake," "God," "Holy God Almighty" and "Swear to God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We hear that Frank was in love with a male graduate student who left him for another man.
  • Grandpa complains that he's so tired that even if a girl came up and asked him to "f*ck her," he couldn't. He then gives advice to Dwayne to f*ck a lot of women," adding not one, but a lot. He then asks Dwayne if he's "getting any" and when Dwayne indicates he isn't, Grandpa tells him he should be getting the "young stuff" that he claims is the best stuff in the world. He then comments on such jailbait and says it's okay since Dwayne is also jailbait and that it will change when the boy turns 18.
  • Grandpa refers to Frank as a "homo" and later uses the term "fag rag" for a gay porno magazine.
  • Grandpa says that with the four to one ratio of women to men in his former retirement home, he was getting so much action that "I had second degree burns on my Johnson." He then reiterates to Dwayne to "f*ck a lot of women."
  • Grandpa says he likes women with "meat on their bones."
  • When they stop at a gas station convenience store, Grandpa tells Frank to get him some porn (adding that he wants the heavy duty stuff) and for Frank to get himself a "fag rag." We then see Frank looking over the magazine covers (with titles such as "Buns" and "Big Butts." Some of the women show cleavage and a few are seen in skimpy attire (such as bra and/or bikini tops), but there's no outright nudity.
  • In the background of a shot, we can see the image of a woman in a small bikini swimming laps in a pool (she's underwater and we can tell she's in a bikini, but can't see any details).
  • A cop finds the earlier purchased porno magazines when they fall out of the back of Richard's VW bus. The cop likes the look of them (including a full rear nude view of a shapely woman on the cover, another shot that appears to show missionary sex, etc.), but balks at a gay magazine cover that shows a man with an open shirt and a headline "Cocked and Loaded."
  • As her talent in a beauty pageant, 7-year-old Olive (as previously coached by her grandfather who also chose her music) dances to the Rick James song "Super Freak" (that contains non-explicit, but sexually related lyrics). She also rips off her pants and then top like a stripper might (she's still clothed beneath so no skin is seen), but does some stripper like moves (including moving a boa type article across her clothed rear end). The rest of the family then eventually joins her and dances to the song, including Dwayne doing some pelvic thrusts to the beat.
  • SMOKING
  • Sheryl smokes at least twice.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Dwayne writes to Frank that he hates everyone. When Frank asks about his family, Dwayne underlines the word "everyone."
  • Richard and Sheryl loudly argue about discussing Frank's suicide attempt at the dinner table and then about how they're going to travel to Olive's pageant.
  • Richard tells Olive she shouldn't have ice cream since it will make her fat.
  • Richard and Sheryl loudly argue after his deal has apparently fallen through. That night, Dwayne hears them arguing through the wall.
  • Spoiler Alert: Olive wakes up her parents to inform them that she can't get her grandfather to wake up. We then see all of them in the hospital where they receive news that he's died. Sheryl is shaken up, but needing to meet their deadline, Richard convinces everyone to take the body with them, so they smuggle it out the hospital window, put it in the back of their VW bus, and speed away (played as dark comedy).
  • Learning that he can't be a pilot, Dwayne starts punching and kicking the inside of the VW bus until Richard pulls over. He then tells his mom, "I hate you f*cking people" (although he apologizes for that not long after the fact).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Dysfunctional families.
  • Young girls being sexualized or at least made up to look like adults in childhood beauty pageants (in this one, most are wearing adult type makeup and some appear in children's bikinis).
  • Suicide attempts - We learn that Frank tried to kill himself (he has bandages on his wrist). He later explains he did because his gay lover left him for another guy (who then was named the best Proust scholar) and because he was fired from his job.
  • Homosexuality.
  • Richard's comment that there are winners and losers in the world.
  • We hear that Grandpa was kicked out of his retirement home due to his heroin use.
  • Richard says not to apologize, as it's a sign of weakness.
  • The comment that sarcasm is the refuge of losers.
  • Olive cries and tells Grandpa that she doesn't want to be a loser (he reassures her that she isn't and won't be).
  • Dwayne discovering that he's colorblind and thus can't be a pilot.
  • Frank is a Proust scholar.
  • The comment that one learns when suffering in life.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Learning that he can't be a pilot, Dwayne starts punching and kicking the inside of the VW bus until Richard pulls over.
  • Trying to get Olive to her pageant on time, Richard drives through a parking lot gate (the moveable arm type). Later, when leaving, he does the same thing.
  • When an emcee tries to stop Olive from performing her talent portion of the pageant, Richard rushes up and struggles with the man before being restrained by guards.



  • Reviewed June 13, 2006 / Posted August 4, 2006

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