PG for mild bullying and brief language
May 5, 2006
Comedy, Kids/Family, Adaptation
Luke Wilson, Logan Lerman, Brie Larson, Tim Blake Nelson, Cody Linley
BASED ON NOVEL BY:
New Line Cinema
Hoot Web site
In providing movie reviews on our site, CBN.com is not endorsing or recommending films we review. Our goal is to provide Christians with information about the latest movies, both the good and the bad, so that our readers may make an informed decision as to whether or not films are appropriate for them and their families.
By Belinda Elliott
CBN.com Daily Life Producer
When middle-schooler Roy Eberhardt (Logan Lerman, The Butterfly Effect, Riding in Cars With Boys, What Women Want) moves with his family from Montana to Florida, he is not excited to be starting life over again in another new city. Once he meets up with the local school bully (Eric Phillips), his fears about Coconut Grove are confirmed – but he is about to meet an interesting character that will take his attention off of his own problems.
Mullet Fingers (Cody Linley, Cheaper by the Dozen, Miss Congeniality, My Dog Skip) lives in an old boatyard, and at first he does not appreciate Roy’s efforts to get to know him. However, Roy does eventually form a friendship with Mullet Fingers, along with middle-school tough girl Beatrice Leep (Brie Larson, Sleepover), and the three of them team up with a common goal. They discover that a construction site where developers are planning to build a new pancake restaurant is also home to numerous burrowing owls, an endangered species of owls that live in holes in the ground. The rest of the film documents their outrageous antics to try to stop the construction project.
The film is based on a book by Carl Hiaasen, and musician Jimmy Buffet spearheaded the project as the film’s executive producer. He also provided the music for the film and made a brief appearance as a minor character. Wil Shriner, who has directed episodes of Fraiser and Everybody Loves Raymond, is the movie’s director and wrote the screenplay.
All three filmmakers are Florida natives and share a desire to protect the environment from uncontrolled development and pollution. They said they have watched parts of Florida’s beautiful landscapes give way to high-rise mounds of concrete over the years and decided to make the film to promote awareness of the damaging effects humans can have on the environment. Like Hiaasen’s book, the film is aimed at children with the hope of developing a generation of new environmentalists.
The ecological agenda aside, the film does provide some good lessons in the context of a lighthearted story. Although the children are portrayed as being wiser than the adults, overall they do exemplify values that most parents would probably like to instill in their children -- the willingness to help others and to get involved in their communities.
Parents will also appreciate the fact that this family film truly is appropriate for the whole family. It is rated PG for “mild bullying and brief language,” but the incidences of both are minor.
Perhaps what parents will enjoy most about the film is that it demonstrates for children that they are never too young to take part in helping their community and standing up for what they believe in. However, it should be noted that in trying to protect the endangered owls, the kids in the movie break the law and damage other people’s property to accomplish their goal. Parents may want to remind their children that it is not okay to break the rules, even for a good cause.
As with any children’s movie that offers a subtle dose of instruction along with the entertainment, filmmakers take the risk of turning a good story into a cheesy after-school special. Fortunately Hoot never crosses that line.
And while the film may not be riveting for adults, the story is still fairly entertaining even for those of us who left middle school ages ago.
All three young actors provide high-quality performances, with 16-year-old Linley being especially convincing as a renegade wild child that runs barefoot through the streets of Coconut Grove and leads the trio in their destructive (but creative) attempts to thwart construction of the restaurant.
Luke Wilson (My Dog Skip, Alex and Emma, That 70’s Show) provides comic relief with his portrayal of David Delinko, the bumbling police officer assigned to figure out who is responsible for repeatedly vandalizing the construction site.
Overall, the movie is a heartwarming comedy and a fun film for the kids.
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More articles by Belinda Elliott on CBN.com
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