She's no JonBenet.
It would be completely tasteless to make jokes about JonBenet Ramsey in reference to a movie about a 7-year-old beauty pageant contestant. So we won’t even mention it. This particular contestant is named Olive, and when she’s accepted into Little Miss Sunshine, her dysfunctional family piles into a car and takes off for a cross-country trip to the contest. Which is not in any way like the Ramseys fleeing Denver when the news media turned their home into a carnival—this is more like Chevy Chase’s movie Vacation, where the Griswolds took off in search of Wally World. Characters include Olive’s father, Richard (Greg Kinnear), who’s got a dubious motivational program he’s trying to strike it rich with. There’s also Richard’s loser brother (Steve Carell), his wife (Toni Collette), a dirty old geezer (Alan Arkin) and lots of laughs. Because this is funny, unlike—well, you know.
Originally published in Philadelphia Home, Summer 2006