The Hoovers are an engagingly dysfunctional family held together by Mom (Toni Collette) and coping with would-be winner Dad Richard (Greg Kinnear), Nietsche-reading teenager Dwayne who just wants to escape his uncool family, outspoken 'dance teacher' Grandpa (Alan Arkin), unstable Uncle Frank (Steve Carell) and sparkily plump 7-year old daughter Olive who has been invited to take part in a beauty pageant contest. The family are about to cross the country in a clapped out VW bus to try to make Olive's dreams come true.
A runaway hit at Sundance, and with a refreshingly anarchic script from Michael Arndt, it speaks volumes that this film was brought to the screen by the producers of Election, a brightly subversive comedy in its own right. Little Miss Sunshine has a tremendous mix of natural performances and darkly comic magic as a family cracking at the seams manages to retain their pride through great adversity. It's well worth it for the fantastic pay-off at the end.