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  • Adorkable: Olive has big glasses, an adorable personality, red cowboy boots, pink leopard print shorts, sweatbands and she also comes off as a tad awkward but that just makes her even more endearing.
  • Angst? What Angst?: After the "Super Freak" fiasco, the pageant officials decide not to press charges against the Hoovers as long as Olive never enters any beauty pageants in California again. After all the hell they went through to even get Olive to the pageant in the first place, their reaction is pretty much "That's okay with us". However, their understated reaction is also representative of their Character Development since they've discovered the superficiality behind child pageants and now know they weren't worth participating in aside from honoring their late grandfather. Their reaction isn't underwhelming, but actually satisfied.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
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    • Olive's beauty-pageant performance: an inappropriate and borderline erotic performance, set to the tune of "Super Freak", which, ironically, has her wearing more clothes than some of the other contestants.
    • Also, Grandpa dying? Tragic. The family stealing his body from the hospital so they won't "leave him behind" and then putting him in the trunk of their bus? Priceless.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: The biker dad, Kirby and Ms. California, for being the only three genuinely supportive people involved in the beauty pageant.
  • Informed Wrongness: The pageant directors are hypocritical for having a problem with Olive's performance while their entire competition involves children in swimsuits, but that doesn't make Olive's any less inappropriate. The movie still paints them in the wrong for it.
  • Memetic Molester: The pageant announcer's creepy mannerisms and constant invasion of the pageant girls' personal space makes him come off as this.
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  • She Really Can Act: Abigail Breslin more than earned her Oscar nomination, especially considering her age and the fact she was part of an All-Star Cast.
  • Signature Scene:
    • Olive's performance set to Rick James' "Super Freak".
    • Dwayne's breakdown is a close second thanks to Memetic Mutation and Paul Dano's powerful performance.
  • Squick:
    • The beauty contest. Which goes into Nightmare Fuel if you consider that those girls all were real-life beauty pageant contestants and those were their real contest performances (minus Olive's, of course). To be fair, though, some of the girls' mothers insisted that things like the leg waxing were made up. Still depressingly Truth in Television.
    • Happened by accident with the biker dad sitting next to Richard. He did have a kid in the pageant, Word of God said that in most of these things you do see more guys in the audience cause the mothers are backstage with the daughters.
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    • Probably intentional with the pageant announcer, who gives off a majorly creepy vibe.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Dayton and Farris didn't direct another film for six years. Their next film, Ruby Sparks, is about a writer who wrote a successful book in his late teens, but has been suffering from writer's block ever since.
  • What an Idiot!: Frank, considering the whole family is in a hurry to make it to the pageant and there's already been enough delays like a death on the trip, maybe you can have waited until you've arrived at the destination before telling Dwayne that color-blind people can't be pilots. Mildly downplayed in that Dwayne clearly knew something was wrong, as seen by his panicked "What?" as he looks at Frank's face. Frank probably decided it would better to let him know rather than make him wait, or he could have said, "I'll explain when we get there."
  • The Woobie:
    • Olive. She is obviously not pageant material, but God bless her, she's so adorable and determined that you can't help but love her.
    • Dwayne. You had to feel for the guy during his breakdown.

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