Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Comedy,Drama Sunshine Cleaning Review

Sunshine Cleaning Review

Sunshine Cleaning will undoubtedly be referenced to as this year’s “Juno” or “Little Miss Sunshine” but the sad thing is it never really gets out of the shadow of either of those movies. It has the quirky comedy, dysfunctional family, and leaves you feeling good at the end, but the question here really is if it matter that Sunshine Cleaning never amounts to more than Juno or Little Miss Sunshine? The answer is no. It’s not as good as most of the movies competing for the now oh-so-holy prize of “The next Napoleon Dynamite” but still is entertaining.

The movie revolves around the Lorkowski family, the textbook example for the movie dysfunctional family. There’s Rose (Amy Adams), the pretty yet troubled single mother who can’t hold a job, Norah (Emily Blunt), the funny yet obnoxious sister who doesn’t know what she wants out of life, Rose’s son Oscar, the innocent boy who can’t possibly belong to this crazy family, and Joe (Alan Arkin), the dad who is always involved in flawed get-rich-quick schemes and in his daughters childhoods spent more time as a business man than a father.

Rose is looking to be more of a career woman but doesn’t have any ambitions until her High School sweetheart (Steve Zhan) tells her that there’s a business to be made in crime-scene clean-up. This of course leads to Rose cleaning up the blood of some men who’ve killed themselves and people who died and left a disgusting home behind. Rose gets the whole family involved in her business (promptly called Sunshine Cleaning). But what’s a comedy without the occasional disastrous shenanigans along the way (one that involves a clients home being burned down)? Some of the most profound scenes come when Norah befriends another woman named Lynn. One scene in particular shows the two standing underneath the tracks of a railroad waiting for trains to go by and sticking their hands between the ruts of the track. This new woman really brings out the best in Norah and their connection seems almost more powerful than that of Norah and Rose. If brings up the question of sibling relationships and how much each individual values those, a topic not experienced on film in recent memories (unless of course Step Brothers counts, something a bit more shallow that Sunshine Cleaning).

Emily Blunt and Amy Adams are two of the best newcomers we have emerging in Hollywood. Viewers will know Blunt as the secretary in The Devil Wears Prada, and Adams as the princess in Enchanted. Both depict real characters, not cookie-cutter cardboard characters you see standing at the movie theater. Like most of the indie comedies coming out, characters are the only thing driving the movie. The plot overall is somewhat bland, but we keep watching to find out what Rose and Norah do next.

At times the movie feels like a Lifetime Original movie, but not every movie is The Godfather. Sunshine Cleaning isn’t re-inventing the wheel, but merely cleaning it off for the real “next Juno”. Grade – A-

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