Hoot

on May 05, 2006 by Tim Cogshell
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Owls are cute and shouldn't be bulldozed. This is the reasonable assertion of "Hoot," adapted from the young-adult novel by Carl Hiaasen and directed by Wil Shriner (whose TV helming credits include "Frasier " and "Everybody Loves Raymond"). This is a hard notion not to agree with, despite the suspect tactics used by the young environmentalists in this film to save the little bug-eyed birds. Fact is, when adults engage in this sort of behavior to save Gnat-Catchers and the like, it's called eco-terrorism and comes with a prison sentence. That said, what is intended here is nothing quite so extreme, even if the logic of the young protagonists isn't all that well-reasoned.

Here, a kid named Roy (Logan Lerman) is forced to leave the wide-open spaces of his beloved Montana for Florida, where his dad has a new job. He encounters a barefooted kid named Mullet (Cody Linley) who, along with his sassy-mouthed sister Beatrice (Brie Larson), is protecting a nest of young owls from the impending construction of a pancake house. Mmmm, pancakes! Anyhoo, Mullet has been wreaking havoc on the site to save the owls, including doing things like putting alligators in the port-a-potty and releasing venemous snakes on the grounds. To make this criminally dangerous behavior acceptable, the filmmakers provide villainous nemeses, including a redneck named Curly (Tim Blake Nelson) and a mean corporate type called Muckle (Clark Gregg), who want those owls dead.

Younger kids will find the pranks and schemes funny, while the enviro-activist theme is an important message to which they may just latch on. The eco-responsibility part, not the venomous snake part, one hopes. Starring Logan Lerman, Brie Larson, Cody Linley, Luke Wilson, Tim Blake Nelson, Neil Flynn and Robert Wagner. Directed and written by Wil Shriner. Produced by Frank Marshall and Jimmy Buffett. A New Line release. Family comedy. Rated PG for mild crude humor and some bullying. Running time: 90 min

Tags: Logan Lerman, Brie Larson, Cody Linley, Luke Wilson, Tim Blake Nelson, Neil Flynn, Robert Wagner, Directed and written by Wil Shriner, Produced by Frank Marshall, Jimmy Buffett, A New Line release, Family comedy, owls, wide-open, sassy-mouthed, criminally, dangerous, snakes
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