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March 2009
SUNSHINE CLEANING

by Wilson Morales

SUNSHINE CLEANING

Distributor: Overture Films
Director: Christine Jeffs
Screenwriter: Megan Holley
Cast: Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Alan Arkin, Steve Zahn, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Clifton Collins Jr., Jason Spevack


   










Two-time Oscar nominee Amy Adams and 'The Devil Wears Prada' actress Emily Blunt make one of the toughest and nauseating jobs worth it in Christine Jeff's indie film. It's a heartfelt and well-executed dramedy that works based on the performances of the ensemble.

Set in Albuquerque, N.M., Rose Lorkowski (Adams) never thought she would have to struggle to earn a living while supporting a son on her own. After all, she was the high school cheerleading captain who dated the quarterback, and most girls envied her. Now in her thirties, she works as a maid in small inns and motels.

When not working or caring for her son, Rose still has romps with her former high school boyfriend Mac (Steve Zahn), who works for the police and is married with kids. When Rose decides to look for ways to earn extra money to send her son to private school and get her real estate license, Mac suggests she look into cleaning the blood left from dead bodies at crime scenes. Initially mortified at the thought, Rose agrees to it, but first has to persuade her unreliable sister Nora (Blunt) to join in her quest to start this lucrative business.

Nora, still haunted by the memory of her mother's death, is a slacker who still lives at home with their dad, Joe (Alan Arkin), a Willy Loman-like salesman who takes his grandson, Oscar, (Jason Spevack) on his trips to make deals. As the biohazard-removal service gets underway, Rose get more confidence in herself. Soon, she and Nora come to appreciate the ups and downs of not only being dependent on one another but trying to work together professionally.

Produced by the same team that did 'Little Miss Sunshine,' for which Arkin won a best supporting Oscar, 'Sunshine' has almost the same feel and tone, but there are differences.

Adams and Blunt provide a fine chemistry as sisters. Adams, in particular, is in winning form as a woman whose self-esteem is challenged.

Arkin carries the same performance that won him the Oscar, and it works here. Blunt is just as good as Adams, but screenwriter Megan Holley didn't explore the depths of her character, specifically the relationship between her and Mary Lynn Rajskub's lesbian character. Overall, you can't go wrong with this rather witty and entertaining film.