Little Miss Sunshine

A young family, a new house and a hush summer range to sell doesn't allow me much time to go to the cinema, so apologies to all those of you who saw this film months ago.

I now have to wait until the DVD release (or a long flight to Australia) before I catch up on my film watching - but I thought Little Miss Sunshine was well worth the wait.

It's a black (or at least dark) comedy featuring a dysfunctional family's road trip to California so that seven-year-old Olive can take part in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant.

The characters may be stereotypes - the Nietzsche-reading teenager who hasn't spoken for the best part of a year, the drug-taking, foul-mouthed grandfather, the would-be self-help guru father etc. - but the script and performances are excellent.

Alan Arkin won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as the grandfather and the film itself won one for Best Original Screenplay.
Not that a couple of Oscars is any guarantee of a good film, but this is a really enjoyable way to spend an hour and a half - a very funny, unsentimental escape from reality.

And I defy you not to enjoy Olive's routine when they finally get to the beauty pageant.