Starring: Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Paul Dano, Abigail Breslin, Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston, Dean Norris
Directors: Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris (Their first film)
Summary: A family determined to get their young daughter into the finals of a beauty pageant take a cross-country trip in their VW bus.
Other Nominations: Supporting Actor (Arkin)*, Supporting Actress (Breslin), Original Screenplay*
This was a shockingly disappointing film for me. Everything is so goddamn quirky and every character in the main family feels like a “character” instead of a character-they feel less like they’re written and more like they’re engineered, it feels artificial. This is the indie-ist movie that ever indie’d in the worst way possible, from the characters to the score to the tone and message of the movie and it all gets really grating and predictable really quickly, although I will say it gets a little better after the first half hour or so which was just awful, and the ending at the beauty pageant is great and exposes the hypocrisy of that subculture. The only thing that makes the movie somewhat palatable is the cast. Everybody is very capable in their role even if I thought Arkin was a very uninspired choice for an Oscar winner. Still, this isn’t enough to save what is ultimately a script that annoyed me to no end in so many different ways. If nothing else, at 101 minutes it’s short.
Rating: D+, although I would say it’s better than any of the other film’s I’ve given a D+ to; let’s call it **/*****