Though the fun times in life can be cruisy and comfortable, it’s the challenges that make you who you are. And they make you enjoy the good times (and be able to create joy in any situation) because you don’t need them, you don’t rely on them always being there, you embrace the challenges and the emotions felt during them, and you understand not only that tough times come at any time, but you have steeled yourself to be able to navigate your way through them.
And that’s exactly the course that Little Miss Sunshine runs, where all the headfucks and bullshit along the road of a cross country roadtrip not only brings each of the characters closer, but they also realise the banality and meaninglessness of trivial and superficiality, leading them to have the time of their lives together, dancing like beasts on the stage of a dumb kids Beauty Contest.
Marcel Proust said that the meaning of life is not found in status and achievement, nor is it found in love, but it is found in art – and specifically breaking habits and expected behaviour with creativity and spontaneity.
Those are the moments of true joy, of happiness, of life.