This movie was billed as a comedy, but it's one of those comedies where you don't laugh very much. I laughed more during Gran Torino.
Amy Adams plays Rose Lorkowski, and her life is pretty dreadful: she's a single mom, and her son is in continual trouble at school with his oddball ways; her kid sister is a slacker; her dad (played by Alan Arkin) continually comes up with obviously doomed get-rich-quick schemes; she's trapped in a dead-end maid job herself; she's in an equally dead-end affair with her married high-school sweetheart, now a cop.
Desperate for money, Rose and her sister decide to get into the semi-lucrative field of cleaning up biohazardous sites, mostly places of violence and death, after the bodies and (most of) their associated pieces have been removed. Eventually, as her expertise grows, Rose finds the job to be fulfilling and worthwhile.
Laugh riot, right?
Many comparisons were made between this movie and Little Miss Sunshine; besides the obvious common word in their titles, there's also a quirky, struggling family threatening to pull itself apart. And Alan Arkin plays the daffy older grandpa in both movies. But (as noted) Sunshine Cleaning is a lot darker, and has many fewer chuckles.
There's good stuff too: Amy Adams is topnotch, and the supporting cast is also fine. (And this is really your go-to movie if you want to hear Giselle from Enchanted talk dirty.) Mary Lynn Rajskub, Chloe herself, has a small role as a sad phlebotomist temporarily befriended by Rose's sister. And it really is an interesting yarn; it's just not very funny.