As long as we're talking about film, I would like to say that Little Miss Sunshine, while not actually bad or anything, does happen to be very trite and manipulative. I thought that perhaps I was the only one in the world whose pants were not charmed right off by the film, but today I read this:
The Top Ten Most Misunderstood Movies Ever Made
8. Little Miss Sunshine
What everyone thinks the message is: Life sucks ass!
What it actually is: Life rules!
I didn’t say you had to agree with the true moral of every movie, especially considering how sappy and mainstream the otherwise-adequate Little Miss Sunshine is, but them’s the breaks.
Despite cramming as much forced familial dysfunction and philosophical cynicism as humanly possible into the first 90% of the movie, the writers make a complete 180 at the film’s climax and decide that, despite the fact that one of the characters is dead and the rest have had their lives ruined in literally every way conceivable, that life is actually pretty neat!
Even if your gay lover left you for someone who now has your job, and even if you can’t realize your dream of becoming a jet pilot due to biological defects beyond your control, and even if your self-help program didn’t sell (thus leaving you nearly bankrupt with two kids to support), everything can be okay if you dance!
If the movie had gone on for another week, most of the main characters would have committed suicide out of depression.