Blu-Ray Review: Amy Adams, Emily Blunt Sparkle in ‘Sunshine Cleaning’

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CHICAGO – Christine Jeffs’ “Sunshine Cleaning” has its ups and downs, its pros and cons, but it’s worth a look, now on Blu-Ray and DVD, for one of the most delightful, multi-faceted performances of the year from one of the better actresses of her generation. What Amy Adams delivers in “Sunshine Cleaning” is her most interesting turn since “Junebug”. Even with an average Blu-Ray release, Adams makes “Cleaning” worth at least a rental on its own. Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0

Despite what Adams (and, to a lesser extent, Emily Blunt) bring to “Sunshine Cleaning,” it’s pretty undeniable that the screenplay could have used another polish. The film fluctuates wildly in tone and overall quality and feels at times like it was practically created by a computer designed to make a “Sundance comedy”.

The “Sundance comedy” is practically a genre of its own at this point - odd characters, quirky dialogue, an unexpected plot twist, Steve Zahn or Alan Arkin, and a great esnsemble. The problem is that the attempts to be quirky and unpredictable have become, well, predictable. Like a lot of Sundance comedies, “Sunshine Cleaning” comes off a little too self-conscious about its odd-but-lovable characters, but Adams is good enough to warrant at least a rental.

Sunshine Cleaning was released on DVD and Blu-Ray on August 25th, 2009.
Sunshine Cleaning will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on August 25th, 2009.
Photo credit: Anchor Bay

Adams plays Rose, a single mother who may have had her best days when she was the most popular girl in high school. Since then, it’s been a struggle. Rose is having an affair with a married cop named Mac (Steve Zahn), while her flighty sister Norah (Emily Blunt) and dream-chasing father (Alan Arkin) get in her way as much as support her through life.

Mac suggests that Rose try to get into the lucrative game of cleaning human remains at the crime scenes he investigates. She opens a business with her sister and a series of quirky events pile up until Rose realizes that it’s her life that needs the most cleaning.

One-armed salesmen, crime scenes, a flighty father with thawing shrimp in his bathtub - “Sunshine Cleaning” is overflowing with quirky and the odd behavior threatens to sink the believability that Adams brings to the piece. Still, through it all, she finds something genuine by making this woman’s cluttered life completely three-dimensional. Without her, “Sunshine Cleaning” would have been a total mess.

The Blu-Ray release for “Sunshine Cleaning” features a 1080p quality transfer of the film in 2.40:1 and an audio track presented in Dolby TrueHD5.1. Neither are notable nor distracting.

The special features include a commentary with writer Megan Holley and producer Glenn Williamson that isn’t bad but might leave viewers wondering what happened to the director and stara, and “A Fresh Look at a Dirty Business,” which is a pretty standard behind-the-scenes piece.

‘Sunshine Cleaning’ is released by Anchor Bay Home Video and stars Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Jason Spevack, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Clifton Collins Jr., Eric Christian Olsen, Kevin Chapman, Steve Zahn, and Alan Arkin. It was written by Megan Holley and directed by Christine Jeffs. The Blu-Ray and DVD will be released on August 25th, 2009. It is rated R. content director Brian Tallerico

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