Like  Slumdog Millionaire and Juno the year before that, this indie comedy was a sleeper hit. Some would say it was THE sleeper hit of 2006.

Starring Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Steve Carell, Abigail Breslin and Alan Arkin, it’s the tale of a dysfunctional family in pursuit of the American dream. When an unexpected fluke wins their seven-year-old daughter a place in the Little Miss Sunshine pageant in California, the misfit Hoover family decides to travel en masse to the contest in their clapped-out VW van. The journey from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Redondo Beach, California, however, is beset with disaster.

It bagged two Oscar nominations and two wins – not bad for a small release. Apparently though, the film’s sleeper success wasn’t an accident. It was the result of a clever promotional strategy, where the number of screens and the amount of advertising devoted to it were gradually increased over several weeks as opposed to the usual pre-release movie advertising campaign.

I’ve not yet had a chance to see this movie, so I’ll definitely be making it the highlight of my bank holiday viewing.


On Channel 4 tonight at 9pm