Review: Hoot B-

A Film Review By Stefan Vlahov

I’ll be honest, I only saw Hoot because Mission: Impossible: III was sold out. But I’ was planning to see it anyways so I thought why not – it’s not like the person at the ticket booth will think it’s weird that you came for M:I:III, but when you found out it was sold out you thought Hoot would be a good replacement. Well actually it was like that, and what makes it worse – she was kind of hot. But what do I care, I’ll never see her again anyways right? Well at least I hope I don’t.

Anyways, back to Hoot. The truth is pro-environment movies have been few and far between, in fact the last one was last year’s Duma, and even that wasn’t trying to send many messages about the dangers of the disappearance of a given species. Even then though, Duma is infinitely better at sending a good message, because of the fact it doesn’t try that hard. By the way, Hoot tries hard. Very hard. In fact, if it weren’t for the random jokes found throughout this would be a drama. That, of course, is always welcome, and the truth is that the melodrama is very well handled by director Will Shriner, who is making his feature film debut. That is even more surprising, since his previous efforts have all been sitcoms, including the horrible “Living With Fran” which is horrible judging by the only episode that I have seen.

Hoot is about a boy named Logan (Roy Eberhardt) who moves from Montana, where people are friendly to animals and nature, to Florida which is experiencing a corporate take-over despite its abundance of habitats for such animals like snakes, alligators, and owls. Ahh…owls. What beautiful animals they are. I’ve only seen owls in their natural habitat a few times in my lifetime and every single time I have looked on in awe. If you’ve never seen an owl live, you’re definitely missing out. It’s more exciting than seeing an eagle live even. I mean owls are so much bigger (sometimes) and prettier, and cooler. I like owls more than eagles, I’ve just established that.

So, anyways, when the Montana kid goes to Florida there is trouble abrewing, because a new place that sells pancakes is being built right on top of a nest of burrowing owls. The resulting construction will kill the habitat of all 18 of them. The kids who are against this are the self-important (and hot) Beatrice (Brie Larson who is my age and is a cutie) and Mullet Fingers (Cody Linley). Here I’ll pause and let you ponder the name Mullet Fingers. A mullet is a type of fish also known as a goatfish, and fingers are the five terminating members of the hand, or as we like to call them – digits. If you know what this means please e-mail me. My e-mail is shelob302001@yahoo.com and no I’m not kidding. I mean, Mullet Fingers. Is it some sort of environmentalist message? Is it a homage to something? I don’t know and I don’t care.

Anyways, the kids stand up to the bulldozers and try to stop the construction of the pancake house. Personally I would do the same because does America really need another pancake house? I don’t think so. By the way, Jimmy Buffett acts in this movie. Jimmy freaking Buffett. His acting isn’t very good and his one chance to make a speech worthy of mentioning while he is teaching the class about marine-biology/the importance of nature, he is way too laid back and can’t be taken seriously. At least he isn’t as laid back a Michael Madsen in BloodRayne or this film would have gone down another couple of notches.

The acting by the kids is also questionable, with the worst performance being that of Mullet Fingers himself – Cody Linley. Linley displays all the negatives that child actors have from the over-the-top delivery of questions to the unsure delivery of lines that are supposed to be powerful. Thankfully Larson and Lerman do better as the two other kids, with Larson being the stand-out although Lerman has been in some big blockbusters like The Patriot and was Bobby on the TV show “Jack and Bobby,” so he brings a well know face to the proceedings.

On the technical side the film is just fine. The owls are awesome and we do feel for them, because they are beautiful and some people might even say – cute. Veteran cinematographer Michael Chapman has a ball making this film as colorful as it can be and utilizes the Floridian landscape to it’s fullest extent. Also the music by Jimmy Buffett is fun even though it isn’t memorable at all. There is a problem with the way things happen in the movie though. Too many times something unbelievable will happen just to serve the script. Like for instance a policeman can just walk into a classroom, or a hospital can just treat a kid patient without asking the parents. It’s small things like that that keep me from giving this a full recommendation.

I do recommend it though, because it means well and it also addresses bullying which is a growing problem in schools these days too. The message of the film is good, and the kids literally standing up to the construction crew, while it might not be the smartest thing to do in real life, is an inspirational moment and one that will make people want to stand up for something. Kids will love this film. Others might resent its lack of anything remotely adult. I’m in between those two opinions and I’m not sorry that I saw it, but if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have missed anything special.

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