Hoot Review

Based on Carl Hiaasen’s Newbery Honor-winning novel the story follows Roy (Logan Lerman) a middle-schooler who has had to move around a lot because of his father’s job. When he moves from his beloved Montana to Florida it’s a big culture shock. But then he hooks up with a tomboy (Brie Larson) and her wild child stepbrother (Cody Linley) and together they unearth a disturbing threat to a local population of endangered owls (and the birds are really cute too) by greedy land developers. Now along with his new friends and a local cop (Luke Wilson) Roy has a new mission in life–to prevent the adults from destroying precious wildlife. I wish I could say Hoot really is a hoot but unfortunately it really isn’t. The three young performers handle most of the action with aplomb. Lerman (TV’s Jack and Bobby) leads things off as the wandering Roy portraying a character with a surprisingly kind disposition considering how many times he has been uprooted in his life. Larson (Sleepover) plays the tough Beatrice who’s all about protecting the ones she loves with plenty of scowls and quick punches. Linley (Cheaper by the Dozen) turns in a dreamy Teen Beat-ready performance as Mullet Fingers a runaway who is the main instigator in trying to stop the land developers. As for the adults Wilson sort of phones it in as the bumbling cop while Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother Where Art Thou?) and Clark Gregg (In Good Company) play the villains–one dumb as a post and the other a slimy weasel respectively. Hoot is a pleasant enough family comedy teaching us to appreciate and protect our environment–even if that means putting alligators in port-o-potties to scare off the developers. A little harmless sabotaging never hurt anyone especially if it means protecting those adorable little burrowing owls. Actor/TV director Wil Shriner adequately takes the helm in his first stab at feature films and even singer Jimmy Buffett–an avid Floridian–gets in the act not only providing the soundtrack but also as one of the film’s producers. Still there are problems with Hoot. It’s always hard to criticize a film which is nothing but good clean fun and provides positive messages–but unlike Holes which has a very quirky sensibility Hoot is well sort of bland. The trite dialogue is at times cringe-worthy and the comedy sophomoric. It would have been better suited as a made-for-TV movie on Nickelodeon.