This movie reminds me of Chevy Chase’s “National Lampoon’s Vacation” with a “bright” spin to it. The uncle tried to commit suicide and got fired from his job. The brother pledged a vow of silence until fulfilling his dream of entering pilot academy and hated his family. The grandpa got kicked out of his retirement home due to his sexually explicit behavior. The father, a public speaker/motivator who taught his children to be winner, not loser, ended up being a loser in cutting a public engagement deal, reaching his last financial straw. Everyone in this family has problems.
In order to allow Olive to enter Little Miss Sunshine pageant, they drove a broken Voltage Wagon from Albuquerque to California. Throughout the journey, they suffered several setbacks: transmission problem (requiring pushing to start the car and parking the car on top of hill), bad news on the father failed dealing, grandfather’s passing away in the back of the van, and the brother’s discovery of his color blindness, who prevents him from being a pilot, being stopped by a cop, and etc.
When they made it to the pageant, Olive found herself stood out like a sore thumb (too plain) without lots of glitters, costumes and makeup. The shocking thing is her last talent performance, which she learned from her father, turned out to be a the “super freak” strip-tease dance. To show their support, all the family members went up to the stage and danced to music. They were told to never enter another California pageant.
This is a hilarious and heart warming movie. The family member started out broken and at the end came together as a family. The sufferings are what make you learn and love. No pain, no gain.