I watched Little Miss Sunshine for the second time the other night- I hadn't seen it in like a year, or whenever it came out in theaters- and I loved it even more this time around. The characters are so endearing, and the crap they go through, while possibly exaggerated at times, is still so much more life-like than so much of what else is out there. Or maybe I am a crazy person who can relate to other crazy people- also a logical explanation.
If you're reading this and haven't seen the movie, I might spoil it for you- although it's not necessarily the plot that drives the movie, I'd say it's the characters' reactions to events.
Right off the bat, all of the main characters are introduced in a sort of montage, and each one is dealing with a situation that seems somewhat larger than life, when in reality each situation could be a part of anyone's life. Dreams of becoming a beauty queen, drug abuse, attempted suicide, an awkward attempt to be a teenager who stands out, and a grand career aspiration that is forced into mediocrity. I love one of the first scenes when the family sits down to dinner- a family consisting of 3 generations related by blood and marriage, and a dinner consisting of a bucket of chicken, Sprite, and a salad that the mother insists be eaten. I can completely relate to the "bucket of chicken" dinners, the family convening from completely different places, and the dinner conversation that is hilariously odd for so many reasons.
The whole movie is a string of events that force the family to deal with each other and with their own struggles- in a way that is a lot less cheesy than what I just described. The best and most comical scene of the movie is the young girl, Olive, performing her dance routine for a beauty pageant. The routine turns out to be essentially a strip dance to the song "Super Freak", and it dawned on me when I watched the film the other night that it was a perfect commentary on the child beauty pageant phenomenon (I could only come to this conclusion after getting over the first-time shock of seeing a 6-year-old do what amounts to a strip-tease). The other girls in the pageant are spray-tanned, hairdoed, and slathered in makeup, and Olive stands next to them, looking and feeling like a "plain Jane". In all reality, the pageant parents have no grounds to be upset about Olive's dance, because it is really just the logical extension of the entire pageant mentality. I LOVE the way this scene played out, it was perfect. Satire at its best.
Of course, the movie ends with everyone feeling a little changed by the events of the weekend, and probably feeling a little closer to each other. But their problems are by no means solved, and on Monday they will have to face them again. The movie was realistic in that way, and on a level that I think a lot of people can understand and sympathize with. Oh yeah, and the horn that won't stop honking just about makes me pee myself every time.