Reel Review: ‘Sunshine Cleaning’ a tidy little movie

At first, it might seem like “Sunshine Cleaning” is attempting to re-create the magic (and success) of independent blockbuster “Little Miss Sunshine.” It’s understandable since this latest release hits many of the same notes: a dysfunctional family of likable losers, an oddball storyline and the always funny pairing of a quirky kid with Alan Arkin.

Despite these similarities, “Sunshine Cleaning” has every right to proudly stand on its own.
The years since she was the beautiful high school cheerleader dating the football captain have been hard on Rose (Amy Adams), a single mom working for a maid service and barely hanging on with sub-standard help from her loser sister Norah (Emily Blunt) and her head-in-the-clouds dad (Alan Arkin).

Her ongoing affair with now-married high school boyfriend Mac (indie staple Steve Zahn) is yet another dead-end.

But when her son is kicked out of elementary school for his ongoing behavior problems (which seem to quietly disappear for the remainder of the film), Rose is desperate to find the tuition for a better school. Mac, a police detective, suggests crime-scene clean up as lucrative line of work. Rose enlists her sister and off they go, cleaning up the often-stinking remnants of the dead.

With the economy in collapse, this tale of a down-on-their luck family barely hanging on feels timelier than it was probably intended to be. The film takes us around the seedy sides of Albuquerque, usually in a clunker of a car. But even with the consistently bleak visual treatment, there is a warmth to these to people, to this story, that keeps you feeling hopeful – for them and for the times we find ourselves living in.

Adams and Blunt both deliver terrific performances, though at first it is a bit of a struggle to accept the perky-faced Adams, so perfectly cast as a princess in “Enchanted,” in such a downer role.

Director Christine Jeffs and screenwriter Megan Holley are patient in their storytelling, quietly unwrapping a family and all of its unspoken pains and lovable oddities, and managing to tell a good story along the way.

‘Sunshine Cleaning’
- Rated: R
- Grade: A
- Now Playing

Related posts:

  1. Reel Review: ‘The Uninvited’ should’ve been titled ‘The Undecided’
  2. Reel Review: ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’ a good time overall
  3. Reel Review: Meandering ‘Watchmen’ a likely fan pleaser
  4. Reel Review: ‘Fired Up’ takes teen comedy to a bad place
  5. Reel Review: Stereotypical ‘International’ fails to impress

Short URL: http://www.delmartimes.net/?p=6046

Posted by on Mar 19, 2009. Filed under Archives. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

Archives

Facebook

Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

LA JOLLA NEWS

RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

RSS RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

  • Rancho Santa Fe resident among seven new trustees joining UC San Diego Foundation Board
    Proactive stewards, higher education advocates and expert financial strategists, UC San Diego Foundation trustees play an important role in cultivating community partnerships and garnering resources to support UC San Diego research, teaching and public service initiatives. Trustees govern the Foundation, including managing net assets totaling $717 million, i […]
  • Rancho Fire District to recognize Fire Prevention Week with two events
    National Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 5-11, and the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District (RSFFPD) will host two community events to recognize the annual awareness campaign. The first will be an Open House from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 4 at RSF Fire Station 2, 16930 Four Gee Road in 4S Ranch. Guests will be able to tour the fire station and traini […]
  • New Rancho Santa Fe Library Branch Manager welcomes community input
    Rancho Santa Fe Library’s new Branch Manager Haley Kwon has been charmed by the village’s “sweet, down-home” character, the simple pleasure of visiting the local library and people’s enjoyment of a slower speed of time. “It’s a small town and the library is a place for people to connect,” Kwon said. “People have a different sense of time here, they come in t […]