Hoot
PG
Entertainment: +1
Acceptability: +3

Logan Lerman, Brie Larson, Cody Linley and Luke Wilson. Written & directed by Wil Shriner.

FILM SYNOPSIS: An eighth-grade trio tackles a greedy land developer bent on building a new breakfast restaurant over a nest of endangered burrowing owls. Musician and environmental guru Jimmy Buffett produces, provides songs for and acts in this adolescent comic adventure that warns of mans continuing encroachment upon Mother Nature.

PREVIEW REVIEW: No one sets out to make a bad movie. And those involved here are game: the youngsters showing acting promise, the writer/director having proved his skill on television (Frasier, Everybody Loves Raymond, Becker), the producers incorporating a noble cause. But the road to discounted video stores is paved with the best of intentions.

I suppose if youre one to go ahhh when you see a ground-dwelling owl pop its feathered head out of a hole, or if you side with conservationalists against the building of one more condo, hotel or pancake house, or if you enjoy seeing brave, concerned kids besting cloddish adults, then this may be the film for you. But Im not even sure those folks will be much satisfied. For though everyone involved wanted to make an intelligent kids movie, they didnt. While the filmmakers did avoid flatulence jokes and the perpetuation of cell phones and iPods, much of the dialogue and many scenes needed tightening or expulsion. And I think most viewers will find the films overbearing message and broad and clumsy comedy tedious, at best.

Pre-preteens, on the other hand, may enjoy the slapstick shenanigans of the films young protagonists as they outwit buffoonish authority figures. Whats more, older teens may become conscious of mans obligation to treat nature with respect (a biblical principle Genesis, Chapter 1). But parents will not appreciate the sock-it-to-the-man terroristic tactics the filmmakers allow their young cast to use in order to punctuate the writers agenda.

The films main middle schooler has run away from an uncaring home to live out his life as a barefooted teenage Tarzan, becoming an avenger of defenseless wilderness creatures. Not having been taught right from wrong, his deeds lead to breaking the law (vandalizing a cop car, holding people hostage, destroying property). Im sure the filmmakers are using this over the top comedy in order to entertain the youngest audience members and perhaps shouldnt be taken too seriously. Still, there is a lot of attitude and several examples of bad behavior parents may not want their children subjected to.

That said, the film does contain some positive elements. Its a clean movie, one avoiding crudity and bad language, and there are several life lessons including the young lead developing a good relationship with his folks. It also sends a message to your children about the need to care for our planet. For a Hoot study guide, go to the following link: http://www.hollywoodjesus.com.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: New Line Cinema

Summary
Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: None
Violence: Though played for laughs, the vigilante youth causes property damage and ties up several characters. A boy is bit by a dog. A boy punches a school bully, breaking his nose.
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: None
Other: The leads break the law, damage the property of others and tell lies in order to do what they feel is right.
Running Time: 90 minutes
Intended Audience: Children and Preteens

Copyright Preview Family Movie Review (www.previeoOnline.org)