Behold, the little film of 2006 that blew away critics and became one of the most talked about films in years. While Fox would later receive a repeat success of a similar nature with Juno in 2007, Little Miss Sunshine was one of the studios biggest hits: the small $8 million dollar budget was made back during the films wide release theatrical run within a few weeks, but once stronger buzz for the film got out, the box office receipts went wild. The film eventually made nearly thirteen times its original budget and made stars of its lesser known cast and even bigger stars of its already talented “big name” actors.
Throw out your anti-depressants and hop on the bus with the feel-good comedy LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, the “achingly hilarious” (Vanity Fair) American family vacation movie that breaks all the rules of the road along the way. The brazenly satirical and yet deeply human comedy includes an all-star cast of today’s most versatile actors including Steve Carell (The 40 Year Old Virgin, “The Office”), Greg Kinnear As Good As It Gets, Fast Food Nation), Toni Collette (In Her Shoes, The Sixth Sense), Oscar winner Alan Arkin (Firewall), Paul Dano (The Girl Next Door) and the adorable young talent Abigail Breslin (Nim’s Island, Kit Kittredge: An American Girl).
The majority of the actors in this film have all gone on to do bigger and better things (Carell especially), but when their career is looked upon in the future, no doubt this little gem will stand out as one of the highlights of their careers. There’s little to fault with this film, as the story of a highly dysfunctional family that has individuals with their own unique attitudes really made for one hell of a story. After watching it for the first time I was so impressed by what I’d seen that I actually didn’t know how I’d felt about it; it was such a crazy experience, but I ultimately decided that it was worth adding to the shelf along with the rest of my DVDs.
And I never did watch it again. It wasn’t until this new Blu-ray release popped up did I give it another spin, just to reaffirm some of my original feelings for the film, did I actually lay eyes upon it again. I’m really glad I did too, as watching it again for the first time in over two years really made me appreciate it all the more. The subtle performances, Carell especially who has been often nothing but loud and noisy in his recent productions, were really just as poignant and terrific as they were the first time.
Of course Abigail Breslin stole the show; she’s since gone on to star in some films I’ve never any intention of seeing, but for her breakout performance I don’t think she could have done better. The role of Olive was simply one of the most touching and beautifully performed roles I’ve ever seen come from a child actor and the films eventual closing number was as shocking as it was entertaining.
I’m almost surprised that this film was received as well as it was, as nothing about it really screams mainstream. It really is about as indie as you can get from a film with big name talent in it and I’m quite glad that it was made as popular as it was. While that does strip away some of its appeal to have such a quirky film thrust into mainstream like it was, if ever there was a film that deserved a larger audience it was this one.
Overall Little Miss Sunshine is a terrific film and comes Highly Recommended. It may just be about a dysfunctional family, but every little oddity they have is made all the stronger by the bond they share.
Fox has released Little Miss Sunshine in a single disc release without any notices other than a firmware upgrade and disc art that mimics the cover. No slipcover is included and the menus for the film are simple and easy to navigate. If there were such a thing as a barebones Blu-ray, then this would be it in terms of appearance.
The AVC encoded transfer of the film is remarkable, although the film itself isn’t even that old so it’s not surprising that it’s as clear as it is. The bright and cheery visuals of the film are fantastic, with plenty of nice, vivid colors popping out at you, whether it’s the VW Bus or the stark white of Frank’s garbs, this film is quite a visual treat. Having said that the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix isn’t exactly the most thrilling, as the only times the surrounds kick in are for the films soundtrack and the rest of the time the only speakers that get used for the most part are the front channels, which feed out plenty of crisp and clear dialogue. Also included are French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtracks as well as English, French and Spanish Subtitles.
Extras for the film are all ported over from the original DVD release and included:
Director’s Commentary by Jonathon Dayton and Valerie Faris
On the Road With The Hoovers: The Making of Little Miss Sunshine
We’re Gonna Make It… A session with Mychael Danna and DeVotchka
Who Are The Hoovers?
No One Gets Left Behind: The Music of Little Miss Sunshine
“Till The End Of Time” Performed by DeVotchka From the Little Miss Sunshine soundtrack
There’s plenty here to check out if you haven’t already watched all of these from the past release, but the only new extra here is a Fox on Blu-ray promo. So while the film itself is worth watching again and again, the real question of whether you need to upgrade to the Blu-ray edition is uncertain. It looks and sounds great, but this isn’t exactly the type of film that is begging to be seen in high-definition, so it’s really up to the individual whether they want to drop the cash on this one.
Little Miss Sunshine is now available on Blu-ray.