Little Miss Sunshine is a 2006 American comedy-drama road film directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. The screenplay was written by first-time writer Michael Arndt. It stars Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Paul Dano, Abigail Breslin and Alan Arkin. The film was released on July 26, 2006 by Fox Searchlight Pictures.
A young girl named Olive Hoover (Abigail Breslin) learns that she's qualified for the the little Miss Sunshine contest the entire family sets off in their VW camper van for the trip from Albuquerque to California. The family includes her reasonably sane mother Sheryl (Toni Collette); her father Richard (Greg Kinnear), a motivational speaker who is stressing over whether his book will be published; her brother Dwayne (Paul Dano) who is into Nietzsche and has taken a vow of silence and hasn't said a word in nine months; her grandfather Edwin Hoover (Alan Arkin) who likes to cuss; and her uncle Frank Ginsburg (Steve Carell), Sheryl's brother who recently tried to commit suicide. Along the way, the van breaks down, Richard learns his book won't be published and they forget Olive at a gas station. They face grief along the way but they get Olive to the pageant on time, even if the pageant itself doesn't quite go as planned.
- Greg Kinnear as Richard Hoover
- Abigail Breslin as Olive Hoover
- Toni Collette as Sheryl Hoover (née Ginsberg)
- Steve Carell as Frank Ginsberg
- Alan Arkin as Edwin Hoover
- Paul Dano as Dwayne Hoover
- Bryan Cranston as Stan Grossman
- Dean Norris as State Trooper McCleary
- Wallace Langham as Kirby
- Beth Grant as Pageant Official Jenkins
- Mary Lynn Rajskub as Pageant Assistant Pam
- Matt Winston as Pageant MC
The film received critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film received a 91% "Certified Fresh" rating, based on 210 reviews, with an average rating of 7.7/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Little Miss Sunshine succeeds thanks to a strong ensemble cast that includes Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Alan Arkin, and Abigail Breslin, as well as a delightfully funny script." On Metacritic, the film holds a score of 80 out of 100, based on 36 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."