Written and directed by Pablo Trapero
Palm, opens September 8
Little Miss Sunshine is Old Gramma Moonbeam in this family road-trip dramedy from Argentina; the VW camper van is here a rusted-out Chevy motor home; the girl's beauty contest is the wedding of Gramma's grandniece so many miles from Buenos Aires that the trip takes nearly the entire movie and includes almost every familiar form of bickering and bonding among no fewer than a dozen related passengers. The indignities of cross-country travel appear fully cross-cultural to former Argentine New Wave member Pablo Trapero ( Crane World, El Bonaerense), whose latest feature trades sociopolitical particularities for the presumably universal: high prices at gas pumps and toll booths, low tolerance for familial neuroses in cramped quarters and hot weather with no air-conditioning. The repeated sight of cute roadside animals and kissing cousins doesn't much enliven the long trip, and while Graciana Chironi lends humanity to the role of the white-shawl-wearing, high-blood-pressure-battling Gramma, the movie rarely if ever crosses the border between familiarity and surprise.