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Friday, May 01, 2009

MOVIE REVIEW: Sunshine Cleaning

Carol's and my long weekend away was coming to an end, and so we decided, as a last hurrah, to drive back to Albany's Spectrum 8 Theatre to see Sunshine Cleaning.

Amy Adams stars as Rose, the former high school head cheerleader whose life hasn't turned out as she planned, but she works hard to take of herself and her son, even though she sometimes has to drop him off into the hands of her slacker sister Norah (Emily Bluth). Rose is also involved with her married high school beau who recommends Rose quit being a maid and start cleaning up biohazard at crime scenes.

Ultimately, the story chugs along to its more-or-less happily ever after conclusion, after some detours. I remember Amy Biancolli's review addressing a plot device in the story that one either believers or not; I bought the conceit. I realized that I had seen a couple very solid performances. Yet the story, while initially intriguing, tended to wander off and so did I.

The makers of the indie hit Little Miss Sunshine also made this movie, right down to casting Alan Arkin as the grandfather; it's a different role, but not so dissimilar that one would find it a variation on the theme.

Ultimately, in spite of the fine actors, and the initial intriguing premise, the story of Sunshine Cleaners didn't always work, much to my regret, for I wanted to really like this film. This is one of those movies that's quirky, but that's not always equivalent with good. I don't regret seeing it, but at best, I recommend with strong reservations.



Rebecca Hickman said...

Thanks for the tip. I think I'll wait until it comes out in DVD.

Leah Golby (aka This Quality Life or TQL) said...

Hey Rog,

I saw this last night (before reading your review today) -- and tend to agree with you. Though I see so few movies these days that it's always a treat for me to sit in a dark theatre. I liked the kid -- and Alan Arkin alot -- and the crime scene cleanup business reminded me of a "This American Life" segment that I heard a while ago on a similar theme (though I don't think it was crime-based)... anyhow, it was good to get out to the movies, but perhaps we should've seen "Earth"!