Idlewild, Invincible, The Illusionist, Beerfest, How To Eat Fried Worms and Only Human are all opening in South Florida today. For my money, though, the best movie you can see in theaters right now is Little Miss Sunshine.
I wasn't able to see the film in time to review it myself when it opened locally last week (here is Connie Ogle's typically fine, cogent review). Having caught up with it a few days later, I think it is easily the best picture I've seen thus far this year, and not just because I'm normally a sucker for road movies.
Written and directed by the husband-and-wife team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, Little Miss Sunshine is consistently hilarious but never cynical, genuinely touching but never sentimental. The cast performs as a true ensemble, bouncing off each other with great precision. But every actor also makes an individual impression with their respective characters, all of whom are fully formed and well-rounded (even Greg Kinnear, an actor I normally find bland, is excellent here).
The most satisfying thing about Little Miss Sunshine is that instead of faltering in its final 10 minutes, as most contemporary comedies seem to do, the movie comes up with a finale so ingenious, satisfying and surprising that you walk out of the theater exhilarated and happy - an all-too-rare experience at the multiplex this summer.
Made on a small budget and picked up for distribution at this year's Sundance Film Festival, Little Miss Sunshine is the kind of indie that makes Hollywood movies seem bloated and listless. Not to be missed.