Little Miss Sunshine

By now, you've heard about "Little Miss Sunshine," but let me get in my two cents worth. To start with, I really like Greg Kinnear ("Nurse Betty" and "As Good As it Gets") and I usually like Alan Arkin ("The In-Laws" and "America's Sweethearts"), although I'm not fond of the drug-addicted former hippie character he plays in this one.

Kinnear is a so-so motivational speaker who is hoping for a breakthrough contract. Toni Collette ("The Sixth Sense" and "In Her Shoes") is his long-suffering wife. Her teenaged son from a previous marriage (played by an underrated Paul Dano) has embarked on a self-imposed silence as an exercise in self control in hopes he can get into the Air Force Aca- demy (don't ask!).

Steve Carell ("The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Bruce Almighty") is her gay brother who has just attempted suicide by slashing his wrists because his student/lover has left him for another man. There is a also a precocious little girl who wants to enter a child's beauty contest in California. Her grandpa (Alda) is coaching her (PLEASE don't ask!).

They end up in a faltering VW bus, struggling to get to California by the registration deadline. Suffice it to say, the journey is the important thing here... that, and acceptance. This thing grows on you and you can't help but cheer these folks on, because they really deserve to prevail!