Quirky and affecting, SUNSHINE CLEANING is a lovely dramedy bolstered by extraordinary performances. As she's done with previous roles as a nun and a real-life Disney princess, Adams brings loads of warmth and empathy to her role. And in Blunt -- who has the rare gift of being able to marry humor and sorry with ease -- she has a formidable partner-in-crime. Rounding out the main cast in a role that harkens back to Little Miss Sunshine (the two movies have the same producers), Arkin cements his place in celluloid history as the patron saint of flawed-but-loving grandfathers. They're damaged, but you feel for them nonetheless.
But here's the rub (or should we say scrub?): Sunshine Cleaning feels painstakingly put together and a bit contrived. Though director Christine Jeffs doesn't reveal the psychological scars branded on the family's psyche until almost the end, she hints at them a little too heavily (the slo-mo flashbacks, the gray visual palette, the mishaps -- and there are many!). And must everyone be so idiosyncratic? Even the former high school classmates Rose runs into at a baby shower seem larded with spite. Still, as blemishes go, these are hardly deal breakers. The film's loudly beating heart and strong performances will wash the doubts away.