Release Date: 7/26/06
Starring: Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Steve Carell, Alan Arkin, Paul Dano, Abigail Breslin
Directed By: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
Written By: Michael Arndt
Meet the Hoovers of Albuquerque: Olive (Abigail Breslin) is a seven year old, slightly pudgy, aspiring beauty queen. Her father Richard (Greg Kinnear) is a struggling motivational speaker with a not-yet-successful plan for success. Her step-brother Dwayne (Paul Dano) has taken a vow of silence until he’s old enough to be a fighter pilot. Uncle Frank (Steve Carell), the world’s leading Marcel Proust scholar, is unemployed, jilted and suicidal. And Grandpa (Alan Arkin) sleeps on the couch after having been kicked out of his nursing home for snorting heroin. Olive’s mom, Sheryl (Toni Collette) is at the end of her rope, trying to keep the family from imploding.
A typically awkward Hoover family dinner is interrupted by the news that Olive has the unexpected opportunity to compete in the finals of the Little Miss Sunshine pageant in Southern California. No one wants to let her down, and with the family’s money tied up in Richard’s business venture, they’re left with only one option—a family road trip in their old VW bus.
What follows is a nine hundred mile trip into the heart of what makes these atypical people your typical American family. Excitement, disappointment, friendship, and loss all culminate in the strange, heightened world of a child beauty pageant, where winning and losing take on an important new meaning for the Hoovers.