Little Miss Sunshine

Rated NR

A pitch-perfect small comedy about a family of losers heading to California to enter their daughter in a pedophile showcase, I mean “beauty pageant.” Steve Carell is amazing as the gay Proust scholar forced to live with his middlebrow sister’s family. Greg Kinnear stars as Carell’s brother-in-law, a man whose nine-step program to success is a study in failure. Alan Arkin plays the heroin-snorting grandfather who urges his 15-year-old grandson to have sex with lots of different women, and Abigail Breslin is freakish and frightening as 10-year-old Olive, a tubby nerd with Miss America dreams. The script seems like it was written by a hip, updated-for-the-Internet-age Jules Feiffer, and the actors are startlingly good at pulling off subtle, character-based humor. Not to be missed, unless your idea of funny is Carrot Top with a lobotomy.

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