Last night our good friends Mama and Papa Wonder were kind enough to allow Back Seat Girl to spend the night at their house. Driver and I took advantage and did something we NEVER do together--we saw a movie. Specifically, "Little Miss Sunshine". It was a really good movie.
The basic plotline is this: A dysfunctional family, made up of an uncle, mom and dad, grandfather, and two kids drive from New Mexico to California in an aging VW bus so their daughter can be in a beauty pageant. The movie manages to be hilarious and very touching all at the same time. It doesn't completely rely on the same old tired gags that most road trip movies use, and when it does use them, they seem fresh and new somehow.
All of the characters are very well developed and all of them have their own issues to work out during the trip. You will fall in love with Olive, the little girl. She is the most normal of all of them, though she does have a penchant for wearing kind of strange clothing. (Red cowboy boots, pink shorts, and a red T-shirt is the outfit she's wearing in one great scene.) The teen-aged boy does a great job playing an angst-riddled 15 year old, and Steve Carell (yep-he's the boss on "The Office") is very impressive as the depressed uncle who can't be left alone because he may committ suicide. Greg Kinnear and Toni Collette play the mother and father, and Alan Arkin (father of Adam Arkin who played the character of "Adam" on Northern Exposure), plays the crazy grandpa who teaches Olive her dance routine for the competition and also has a bad habit of snorting cocaine.
I recommend seeing it at the theater or with a group of friends when it comes out on DVD, because you know how things are just funnier when everyone else is laughing out loud, too? That was the case last night. The whole theater was laughing. Driver almost embarrassed me with his rocking back and forth, knee-slapping, tears in eyes performance.
And that, my friends, is the first movie review from us here at "Station Wagon Tales". It may very well be the last, too, since before this the last movie Driver and I saw together at the theater was "The Bourne Identity". Back Seat Girl was born the next day.