The Impractical Dream

Little Miss Sunshine makes fun of self-help gurus, beauty pageants, Proust and other wide targets

Grandpa (Alan Arkin) does heroin. Dad (Greg Kinnear) hopes to become a motivational guru with a dreary nine-step program that asks people to banish their inner losers. Chubby little Olive (Abigail Breslin) is determined to become a prepubescent beauty queen, the Little Miss Sunshine of the title. That goal is not particularly advanced by her brother (Paul Dano) or her uncle (Steve Carell), a Proust scholar coming off a suicide attempt. Mom (Toni Collette) is loving but too distracted to cook. At the Hoover house in Albuquerque, N.M., it's all KFC all the time.

American dysfunction! Is there anything more comically...

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