Judging by their co-directorial feature-film debut, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris might want to stick to music videos. Their slapstick Little Miss Sunshine is neither funny nor at all memorable.
Grandpa (Alan Arkin) has a heroin habit, mom’s brother (Steve Carell) is gay, the geek son doesn’t talk and chubby daughter Olive pines to wins a beauty contest, hence the title. The family piles into a VW bus and embarks on a road trip from hell that tries to mimic National Lampoon’s Vacation, but fails at virtually every turn.
A cast that includes Greg Kinnear and Toni Collette is unable to mine laughs from comic situations that include a sudden death and the constant need to pop the clutch to start the bus. The contest proves to be a shrill parody with the sleep-deprived family members making utter fools of themselves in the process.
Opens July 28