2009-04-03 / Entertainment/Lifestyles

MovieScope

'Sunshine Cleaning' - Crime Cleanup
By Robert Snyder

Ever wonder who cleans up a crime scene? Who has the unsavory task of disposing of all the blood, brains and medical waste after a shootout or suicide?

The hypothetical answer to those questions may be found in the unlikely comedy, "Sunshine Cleaning." Producers Glenn Williamson, Jeb Brody, Marc Turtletaub and Peter Saraf seek to mine more gold with the "sunshine" motif (they helmed the 2006 hit "Little Miss Sunshine"), telling the story of two struggling sisters, Rose and Norah Lorkowski (Amy Adams and Emily Blunt), who start a business cleaning up crime scenes in their hometown of Albuquerque. The crazy career falls in their laps when Rose's married/detective boyfriend Mac (Steve Zahn) suggests it as a more lucrative option to Rose's housemaid job. Her precocious 7-year-old son, Oscar (Jason Spevack), has been acting out in public school, so his mom wants to put him in a private one, which requires big bucks. More dysfunctional Norah is jobless and living with dad ("Little Miss Sunshine" Oscar winner Alan Arkin redoing his grandpa role), so sister Rose recruits her.

While distasteful to say the least, crime cleaning does build their bank accounts. However, a kindly, one-armed cleaning supply storeowner, Winston (Clifford Collins, Jr.), informs them of two overlooked perquisites in their line of work: They must become certified/insured and dispose of biohazard materials appropriately, i.e., not in the nearby dumpster.

The sisters have an underlying secret, which plays off their bizarre business. It causes pain, particularly to Norah. At times, the script by Megan Holley transforms from dark comic crime-cleanup craziness to deep drama. But the two leading actresses slip through the transitions effortlessly, thanks to Christine Jeffs' smooth heartfelt direction.

"Sunshine Cleaning" is worth a look. It will make regular household cleaning seem like a snap.

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