Director: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Stars: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear
Plot: In Albuquerque, Sheryl Hoover brings her suicidal brother Frank home to stay with her family. Sheryl's husband Richard is unsuccessfully trying to sell his self-help and self-improvement technique. Her son Dwayne has taken a vow of silence as a follower of Nietzsche and aims to be a jet pilot. Dwayne's grandfather Edwin was sent away from the institution for elders and is addicted in heroin. When her seven-year-old daughter Olive has a chance to compete in the Little Miss Sunshine pageant the whole family take a cross-country trip in their VW bus.
The production crew made sure Abigail Breslin really was listening to music in her headphones to keep her from hearing Alan Arkin's profanity-laced scenes.
All of the girls acting as participants in the "Little Miss Sunshine" beauty pageant, except Abigail Breslin, were veterans of real beauty pageants. They wore the same costumes, including hair and makeup, and performed the same talent routines as they had in their real-life pageants.
Bill Murray was the original choice to play Frank however he declined. This is one of the few roles he regrets declining.
Abigail Breslin wore a fat suit for the part of Olive.
The "heroin" Grandpa snorts in the bathroom in the beginning of the movie is actually crushed up B vitamins.
Dwayne is 15. In reality, Paul Dano who played Dwayne, was 22.
Thomas Haden Church turned down the role of Richard Hoover, a decision he said he later regretted.
It was remade as a Marathi film De Dhakka(2008)
One VW bus that Greg Kinnear drove during filming of this movie is on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.
In the commentary, the directors note that Greg Kinnear was really self-conscious about dancing because his wife made fun of his dance moves at their wedding. He was so self-conscious that he requested the dance scene be eliminated from the film.