‘Sunshine’ lights up the screen

Daria Gredysa

I get super excited about movies I fall in love with since not many are apt to keep my attention. Most times, the comparison method works, as in “You will like ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ if you enjoyed ‘The Royal Tenenbaums,’ ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’ or ‘Sideways.'” However, I was not too impressed by any of these and yet “Sunshine” hit the spot.

Here are three simple ways I would describe the movie before a formal synopsis:

1.) You know the “I love lamp” guy from “Anchor Man?” Yeah, he’s in it and he’s fabulous.

2.) I have never personally had to push/run to start a Volkswagen hippie bus as my family jumps into it, but Wow! The Hoovers do it with Olympic efficiency.

3.) I’m no Michael, but a little girl dancing to “Super Freak” is so beyond funny.

The Hoovers may not be the quintessential familial unit, but there is no doubt that all their eccentricities and idiosyncrasies are what make them such a lovable family. Richard (Greg Kinnear) is a struggling motivational speaker whose obsession with “winners” and “losers” may at one point be on the verge of causing an eating disorder in his seven year-old by telling her ice cream is fattening.

His wife, Sheryl (Toni Collette), is the most “normal” of the cast, with her attempts to keep everyone together, alive and happy.

Their teenage son, Dwayne (Paul Dano), shines even in his silence. He has vowed not to speak until he reaches his goal of becoming a fighter pilot, using a notepad to scribble hilarious messages.

Sheryl’s brother, Frank (“40 Year Old Virgin’s” Steve Carell), is a professor whose failed homosexual affair pushes him to attempt suicide.

Grandpa (Alan Arkin) joins the family after his addiction to heroin gets him kicked out of his nursing home. This makes him the only likely candidate to take on the role of talent coach to Sheryl’s and Richard’s daughter.

Olive (Abigail Breslin) will no doubt shake her plump seven-year-old heine into your heart while you cheer her on in the Little Miss Sunshine pageant. The plot unfolds as Olive’s aspirations drive the family onward in their pathetic yellow VW bus.

“Little Miss Sunshine” did not gain festival buzz for nothing, becoming “the hit of Sundance” for 2006. The Hoover family caravan will not only give you a new definition of road trip but will keep you laughing with its flawless depictions of dysfunction. This movie is not only comical, but also smart. The knock-out performances and excellent script will definitely make you leave the theater feeling your time was well spent.