The tenderhearted performances—from Amy Adams and Emily Blunt—and glowing characters in Sunshine Cleaning never get a chance to burst through a foggy plot about sisters scrubbing up after grisly crime scenes.
The Bigger Picture: The old adage says: The best roles for actresses fall into three categories—hookers, victims, and doormats. The two sturdy, quirky heroines of Sunshine Cleaning break that rule. Good for them. But a patchy plot and dull direction blot out what could be a radiant portrait of women grappling with loss, ambition and life’s general messiness.The scrappy Lorkowski sisters are in a rut. Rose (Adams), a single mom, needs to pay for her eccentric son to go to private school on a pitiful maid’s salary. Norah (Blunt), her angst-filled, ne’er-do-well younger sis, can’t hold down a job. On a lark they decide to start up a crime-scene clean-up business to hustle some quick cash. Together they bounce from one gruesome scene to another, cleaning up the guts of suicides, murders and folks who died unnoticed and uncared for.
The duo’s eagerness and inexperience create some truly charming slapstick scenes and (very) brief moments of insight, though the story is too sloppy to grip. The macabre setup is fascinating, to be sure, but the filmmakers never give us the gritty details on any of the scenes the girls are scrubbing up after. While the yellowing class photo, forgotten shopping list and forlorn pet are all nice touches, plot cannot survive on nice touches alone. Without any real conflict, Cleaning goes nowhere and creaks to a close.
Adams is a fine actress, but in moments of conflict, Rose resorts to blubbering, so you get tired of her weepy schtick real quick. Blunt, however, is nothing but a delight. She’s a modern comedian who still has the chops to be fragile and delicate. She is the brightest spot in this hazy, hallow story.
The 180—a Second Opinion: It’s a delectable treat to watch two capable actresses tackle their parts with so much sincerity and smarts.
Source: E Online