Little Miss Sunshine- Directed by Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris (Fox Searchlight, 2006)

November 1st, 2006

By Joy Kucinkas

For the first time in recent history, a successful dramedy has hit theaters. Little Miss Sunshine’s raw irony is evident even before the first scene, as the characters are introduced haphazardly during credits. Each is miles away from the plastic surgery experiments that litter most Hollywood flicks, yet they’re loveable in a sort of ‘let-me-push-up-your-glasses’ kind of way. This beyond-dysfunctional family is barely realistic, but the motley crew drags the audience along on a roller coaster of warm fuzzies, belly laughs and perhaps some damp eyelashes.

The story begins with a snapshot of the family including the literal eye-opening of Uncle Frank (Steve Carell), a suicidal, heart-broken Proust scholar, and the heroin-snorting Grandpa (Alan Arkin) doin’ his thang behind locked door. A sit-down dinner of KFC and on-edge conversation proves the family beyond civility until the youngest member of the cast, Olive (Abigail Breslin) finds out she’s been invited to compete in California’s ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ pageant. Fortunately, a young actress other than Dakota Fanning fills this role. The crew piles into their beat up yellow VW van and makes a less than stereotypical race against time with several ‘I-can’t-believe-that-just-happened!’ side trips. With a stellar soundtrack featuring a surprise well-known dance groove and multiple singles by the talented DeVotchKa, Little Miss Sunshine has viewers humming their way out of this witty, feel-good flick.

Whaling Wall Matthew Farrell
Chow Feng Shui Josh Elmer
Stained Glass Ceiling Emily McNeill
Anarchitect Mike Berlin
SaHarrison Desert Harrison Flatau
Metrolollipopolis Jennifer Konerman
Tropic of Scurvy Heather Newberger
Copy Editors Danielle Sherwood
  Jenna Scatena
  Elliott Feedore
Adviser Mary Beth O’Connor
Chief Residents Abby Bertumen
  Kelly Burdick
  Bryan Chambala
  Sam Costello
  Cole Louison
  James Sigman

Buzzsaw Haircut is funded by the Ithaca College Student Government Association, the Park School of Communications and a generous grant from Campus Progress.

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Front cover and back cover of print edition by Jake I. Forney.
Section dividers of print edition by Jake I. Forney and Justin Lubliner.