I saw this again (on cable) and I have to say I was both right and wrong in my first post.
Right: going into the movie with expectations that its some kind of masterpiece is a recipe to be disappointed.
Wrong: I think within its modest scope, it's pretty damn beautiful. Maybe it was having read this line from David Edelstein:
The key to Little Miss Sunshine is that every single one of these people is going to come up against a major obstacle and, in the great American tradition . . . lose. Lose crushingly. Lose enough to make a person want to pack it in. But when life hands them a lemon, they don’t just make lemonade. They learn to spike it with whiskey and dance their friggin’ heads off.
Or as Smokey Robinson told us: You gotta dance to keep from crying.
My favorite bit this time around: the desperation-inspired, Clark Griswold-like insanity that overcomes Greg Kinnear as he makes the decision to steal his father's body from the hospital.