Tuesday, June 30, 2009

SUNSHINE CLEANING - shameless cash-in

SUNSHINE CLEANING is a worthless film. The script is derivative, the tone mis-judged and the execution poor.

Essentially, the film is a shameless attempt to cash-in on the sleeper-success of LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE by recasting its characters in another setting. Once again we have a family beset by financial crisis and suburban failure. Admittedly, instead of a married couple we have two sisters – one, a high school sweetheart turned mistress and cleaner – the other a troubled college drop-out. But, in LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE style, we have a central relationship between an eccentric grandfather and an eccentric grandchild. The plot, such as it is, consists of the two sisters setting a crime-scene clean-up business in order to finance the kid’s private education.

The tone of the film also attempts to ape the black comedy of LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE but the script isn’t funny enough for that. Rather, we get a poor attempt to make a light-hearted film about painful subject matter – suicide, drug use and failure.

Finally, there are the difficulties with the execution. Amy Adams is cast as the older sister, but looks and plays younger than Emily Blunt. Emily Blunt’s accent is unsure. And casting Alan Arkin as the eccentric grandfather only confirms the movie’s attempt to capture the same tone as LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE. Technically, the film suffers from a muddy colour palette and uninspired camera-work, relieved only by two exceedingly clumsy pastiche slow-mo shots of the two sisters at the start of the film, in the style of Wes Anderson.

SUNSHINE CLEANING played Sundance 2008 and was released last year in the US. It was released earlier this year in Canada, Sweden, Israel, Greece, the Netherlands and Germany. It is currently on release in Belgium, France, Australia, South Africa and the UK. It opens next week in Denmark, the following week in Singapore and Japan and on August 6th in New Zealand.

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