After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.
David O. Russell
Robert De Niro
In Albuquerque, Sheryl Hoover brings her suicidal brother Frank to the breast of her dysfunctional and emotionally bankrupted family. Frank is homosexual, an expert in Proust. He tried to commit suicide when he was rejected by his boyfriend and his great competitor became renowned and recognized as number one in the field of Proust. Sheryl's husband Richard is unsuccessfully trying to sell his self-help and self-improvement technique using nine steps to reach success, but he is actually a complete loser. Her son Dwayne has taken a vow of silence as a follower of Nietzsche and aims to be a jet pilot. Dwayne's grandfather Edwin was sent away from the institution for elders (Sunset Manor) and is addicted in heroin. When her seven-year-old daughter Olive has a chance to dispute the Little Miss Sunshine pageant in Redondo Beach, California, the whole family travels together in their old Volkswagen Type 2 (Kombi) in a funny journey of hope of winning the talent contest and to make a dream ...Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Robin Williams, Alec Baldwin, and David Duchovny were considered for the role of Richard Hoover. See more »
It is obvious that most of the movie was shot in Arizona. The family lives in Albuquerque yet a shot of the van driving right after they start out to California shows saguaro cactus, which only lives in southern Arizona, and not anywhere in New Mexico (too cold and high). Even if they did drive south to Las Cruces and foolishly drive 400 miles out of their way and take I-10 instead of I-40 to L.A., there is no way they would be close to the range of saguaro so quickly after starting out. See more »
There are two kinds of people in this world, winners and losers.
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The DVD contains four alternate endings:
Alternate Ending # 1 had the family stop at a rest stop the next day as they're driving back home. Richard talks fondly about Grandpa, and then the family toasts to his memory. You actually can't hear the dialogue, since the only audio option is for the director's commentary on this ending. Basically, the filmmakers thought that it was too sappy (since it was too sunny during the scene) and so they stopped filming.
Alternate Ending #2 had the family handcuffed at the security office at the hotel. The security guard tells them that Olive is disqualified from the competition and that they are released, under the condition that they are banned from entering beauty pageants in California again. He releases the family members, and they start to walk out of the lobby. Sheryl places a crown on Richard's head, who in turn places it on Olive's head. As they exit the hotel, Richard asks "who wants ice cream?"
Alternate Ending #3 had Olive running out into the lobby of the hotel, acting as a lookout, as you can hear everyone else arguing off-screen about stealing the trophy. She signals that the coast is clear, and so the others run out of the hotel carrying the trophy (while Frank wears the crown).
Alternate Ending #4 is the same as #3, but it's extended. Title cards detail the family stealing the trophy from the room, running down the hall, running out of the hotel, running into the van, and driving off.
I'm really picky about films and this actually was original and humorous...smart and well acted. Unique.
Just go see it when it comes out. A few people I saw it with said it might be one of the best movies of the year. I completely agree with them. At first it seemed like the movie wasn't going to be funny at all...I mean can a mute and a suicidal man make a comedy? Yes they can!
It got funnier as it went along. I laughed so much I got tears in my eyes during the last dance scene.
The whole cast was great, Paul Dano, Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell playing really serious at first...when I went into the movie, I thought it was a drama at first...Steve Carell was what brought me to the film in the first place...and Alan Arkin is funny in anything he does...I don't want to say much about this film...I want people to go to it and be surprised...
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