Someone at imdb pointed out that Amy Adams' character in Sunshine Cleaning wasn't that sympathetic. Thinking about it, I realized they were kinda right.
She's someone who's life peaked in high school and never amounted to shit...never left their home town, has an affair with a married man who is using her, cleans up after her former peers who married succesful men. Dumps her kid on a guy she barely knows so she can hang with people who are at least one class above her, leaving her incompetent sister to ruin everything. Also, she's never stopped pining for her lost mother, after some 20 years.
Family of losers. Shit, the kid is a loser, too. The sister is almost the epitome of a loser (to he credit, she's managed to not have any illegitmate children). Even the dad never remarried or apparently did anything successful (besides raising two daughters on his own). All that's left for them is to clean the messes up of people with worse luck than them (dead people) and pretend their lives aren't as crappy as we the audience know they are.
SUNSHINE movies...about loser families. It's MARRIED WITH CHILDREN sans the laugh track.
Not that either movie was a bad film, though. It's their dysfunction that makes them relatable current-recession era characters.