Reviewed by: Ken Goding
|Featuring:||Logan Lerman, Brie Larson, Luke Wilson, Cody Linley, Eric Phillips|
|Producer:||Frank Marshall, Michael Chapman, Jimmy Buffett|
|Distributor:||New Line Cinema|
“It’s time to stand up for the little guys.”
Based on Carl Hiaasens Newbery Honor-winning book, Hoot.
I went into the theater hoping that “Hoot” would not turn out the way I was pretty sure it would, and sadly, my thoughts were correct. Teenager Roy Eberhardt (Logan Lerman) is forced to move to Florida because of his father’s job, and as always, has to learn to fit in. He quickly finds himself tangled up with two of school kids who most would rather stay away from—a cowardly bully (Eric Phillips), and Beatrice (Brie Larson), a soccer player with an attitude. Also, there’s a strange boy who runs without shoes, seemingly with a purpose, but what?
At the same time, the preparations for putting in a new Mother Paula’s Pancake House are not going particularly well. Someone keeps sabotaging the survey plans, making the local site manager (Tim Blake Nelson) sweat, while he attempts to keep his pushy boss happy. He calls upon a police officer (Luke Wilson) who has a good heart, but can’t do anything right, to crack the case and allow the groundbreaking to begin.
More and more things happen as Roy finds himself joining the whole situation and gaining an understanding of what’s really going on.
It turns out that the location of the pancake house happens to also be a nesting ground for rare burrowing owls, and the running boy (his name turns out to be Mullet Fingers, played by Cody Linley) is doing his best to save them. Only problem is, he’s the one doing the sabotaging; Beatrice is his sister, and now Roy is getting involved in not only trying to save the owls, but to keep himself and the others safe.
In spite of the efforts, the plans are continuing, so Roy turns to their last shot: proving that it’s illegal for the owls to be displaced and killed.
In terms of the actual content of the movie, it’s fairly clean and stays within the limits that PG requires, in my opinion. There’s the bullying, which accounts for most of the rating, some animal violence, some name calling, stuff like that. The worst for sex and nudity is basically people in bathing suits or shorts and no shirt, one of the rare movies that really doesn’t push it much. That I liked, it made for less wincing than usual as I watched.
But on a deeper level I was very disturbed by the message that “Hoot” delivers. The heroes fight evil with evil, and there is little recourse for it. When there was a short father-son talk, I hoped that this would be brought out, but sadly the father did not do a very good job of it. The motives are right, saving the owls is a good cause, but illegal activity to stop people from doing wrong can’t be justified. Only later, when the thought of proving that the Mother Paula’s company is building illegally are they on the right track, but even then their methods are wrong. Parents will need to explain this to young children, and how the Bible teaches about handling difficult situations like this.
I usually judge a movie ultimately by whether I’d like to see it again, and if so, would I be willing to buy it? This is one that won’t bother me a bit if I were to never have it near me again, despite its fairly clean presentation.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Minor
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.