As the famous song says, My Girl is like sunshine on a cloudy day. It’s sweet, pleasantly surprising and undeniably warm.The Temptations-inspired title refers to the aforementioned Vada (Anna Chlumsky), an 11-year old hyperactive hypochondriac who lives with her widowed dad, Harry (Dan Aykroyd) and near-death’s-door grandma in a suburban funeral home. Vada is somewhat of a self-imposed loner, pining after her young teacher, Mr. Bixler, rejecting the girlie girls at school and occasionally hanging with bespectacled boy, Thomas J. (Culkin). But things start looking up when her dad hires a cool, hippie chick named Shelley (Jamie Lee Curtis), who provides her with some make-up, sneak-peaks at romance novels and some money for Mr. Bixler’s creative writing course. Well, the last part isn’t quite a gift. Vada steals it.
Anna Chumsky is pitch-perfect as the vivacious and vindictive Girl in question, delivering the character’s quips quick and naturally, almost like they’re her own. While she undoubtedly nails the stubborn sasspot side of Miss Sultenfuss’ personality, she also manages to bring a sense of vulnerability to the otherwise confident character. Her wide-eyed face as she sees her dad kiss Shelley is devastating, showing us, without a word, that although she’s seemingly ready to deal with all the lost lives around her, she’s still not ready to accept the death of her parents’ late romance.
At another point, Vada gets her first period and has a mini-meltdown, thinking that she’s “hemorrhaging.” After she learns the truth about the bloody mess, she still keeps up the drama, telling Thomas Jay to not come around for “five to seven days.” It seems funny – and totally is – but it’ strictly serious to the little lady. Although she’s got a big personality and a big mouth, Vada also has a big heart, and every time something chips away at it, she gets one step closer to the breaking point. So when something actually major happens near the end of the movie, she falls to pieces. And so will the little not-so-tough tomboy inside of you.