Sunshine Cleaning (R) - 2009 - Runtime: 91 minutes
Starring: Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Alan Arkin
Director: Christine Jeffs
The similarities to the indie hit a couple years ago, Little Miss Sunshine, are numerous: Sunshine in the title, Alan Arkin playing a lovable, but shady grandfather and a dysfunctional family trying to make their lives better through a business opportunity. And although Sunshine Cleaning is worthy of your attention, it's nowhere near the laughs or quality that made LMS (I can call it that because I'm a critic) so special.
Amy Adams plays Rose, a girl who peaked in high school and has lived a pretty ho-hum life ever since. She thinks her life will magically get better because someday, her hunky, detective lover will ditch his wife and she'll pass her realtor's exam. But of course it doesn't work that way and she ends up getting involved in a crime clean-up business with her just-as-messed-up sister, Norah (Emily Blunt). Their business is met with success and suddenly things are looking up, but things get messy as Rose tries to get back to elite status that she had in high school.
Despite all the usual trappings - the predictable plot, family dysfunctional jokes, etc. - the movie does shine (I'm really trying hard to implement more and more bad puns in my reviews, bear with me). The story wasn't too out of touch with reality for me not to connect with the characters, but it wasn't so oppressively bleak that you lose all faith in humanity (and god forbid, the crime clean up business!). Don't expect big laughs, even though there are some good ones. The movie clips along briskly and it's over before you know it - so it has that going for it.
As a side note - I am a huge advocate for shorter movies - I feel like the average length of movies keeps getting longer and longer. Don't get me wrong, sometimes their good, but after two hours, my butt can get sore and I get grumpy when my candy runs out - which usually happens after the trailers are done.
Anyways, this is a feel good movie, as implied by the title. It's got some lovely actresses who aren't too bad on the eyes and they're adorable cleaning up blood and vomit and other such lovely bodily fluids. But seriously, if you're looking for something a bit light, but with a little drama, Sunshine Cleaning is perfect. Definitely worth a rental!
Rating: Rent It!