LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE Director: JONATHAN DAYTON & VALERIE FARIS U.S.A.| 2006. COLOUR. ANAMORPHIC. DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO. 1001 MIN. Book cinema tickets THE BIG HIT OF THIS YEAR’S SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL, ‘LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE’ IS A GENUINELY DELIGHTFUL COMEDY ABOUT A FAMILY OF MISFITS ON A ROAD TRIP TO A TALENT CONTEST. Ace pop promo directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris have resisted pumping up the quirk-factor in their debut feature, and instead let the foibles speak for themselvesavoiding cruel caricature in favour of warm-hearted observation and suggesting that the shared recognition of individual tics actually brings people together. Not that you’d surmise this to begin with. Dad (Greg Kinnear, thrumming with white-collar desperation) is a motivational speaker struggling to make a buck, leaving his wife (Toni Colette) to keep the household together as their Goth son (Paul Dano) persists with a Nietzschean vow of silence, while foul-mouthed heroin-snorting grandpa (Alan Arkin, a hoot) trains their perky young daughter (Abigail Breslin, from the intense ‘Keane’) for a shot at the Little Miss Sunshine junior talent contest. Having to mount a suicide watch for mum’s ultra-depressed Proust scholar sibling (Steve Carell, the ’40-Year-Old Virgin’ himself!) isn’t what they needed, especially when the whole clan have to pile into a clapped-out VW motor-home to drive to the Little Miss Sunshine event. The escalating comic chaos is to be expected, but it is flawlessly executed, the underlying affection in Michael Arndt’s barbed screenplay pointing up the farcical elements because we’ve grown to root for this motley lot. All this and a show-stopping finale to match ‘Muriel’s Wedding’ in uproarious kitsch. Trust us, you’ll love it.Trevor Johnston. Director: JONATHAN DAYTON & VALERIE FARIS U.S.A.| 2006. COLOUR. ANAMORPHIC. DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO. 1001 MIN.