January 30, 2011 by 1 Comment
Oh, Hoot. How many jokes do you think I make at your expense? You know what? I'll stick with one that relates to almost all of the film. "I don't give a hoot about ____" with the blank being filled in by almost any important part of a film that you can think of just about sums up my opinion of Hoot. It also makes me chuckle every time I say it, so I think I'll begin the majority of the paragraphs in this review with a variation of the phrase. I don't give a hoot about the story, although in order to remain somewhat professional, I will still describe how the plot sets up. The film revolves around a teenager named Roy (Logan Lerman), who has just moved to Florida, coming all the way from Montana. His family moves a lot, and he isn't happy about it. They don't care, and move again anyway. I don't give a hoot about Roy. Here is a child who complains about not being able to make friends, a kid who we see bullied on the very first day, but also one that we are supposed to root for. Despite his complaining, he does find friends, two good ones, as a matter of fact. They are the ones who are going to be his companions when the film's actual plot begins taking place, and also far more interesting than our lead character. I do give a hoot about the supporting cast. Roy's friends are named Beatrice "The Bear" (Brie Larson) and "Mullet Fingers" (Cody Linley). That's right, both of the supporting members or Roy's group get nicknames. There's also an odd casting choice with Luke Wilson playing an incompetent police officer working in the town. It's an odd casting, because he's actually the biggest name attached to the project, yet plays a fairly minor and insignificant role. The title of "Hoot" refers to burrowing owls, creatures which happen to like living in the town the film takes place in. Unfortunately for them, there is a construction crew on their way to destroy the owls' habitat, a crew whose director knows the owls are living there, yet doesn't care about them, Here is where the teenagers come in. They want to halt the construction crew, and save the owls' habitat. So, yes, the film carries an environmental message with it. I don't have a problem with that. With a film marketed primarily towards younger children, (something I do have a problem with--I'll explain why later), a pro-environment message is a good idea. It also is a feel-good movie, making kids feel empowered, like they can do anything, by the film's conclusion. I don't give a hoot about the film's script though, and this is the biggest issue I take with the film. While it is market towards children, keeping a PG rating, some of the dialogue was incredibly awkward and unrealistic. It's like the script was written with a PG-13 rating in mind, and then all the potential curse words were cut and replaced by milder terms. At least, that's what is sounded like when listening to the useless words coming out of the actor’s mouths. Speaking of the cast, I didn't give a hoot about many of them either. Now, I'll admit that the main reason I watched this was to see if Brie Larson could actually handle a larger role in a movie. I didn't really get my answer, as I'm still not sure. Out of the lead cast, she definitely handled herself the best, but then again, the owls did a better acting job than the protagonist. I really did not like him or his performance, which is too bad, because he has to carry the film. He doesn't show any emotion, or even act like the awkward teenage boy he is written to be. He's just there, delivering lines that don't matter. In an odd twist of fate, I didn't even give a hoot about the owls in Hoot, despite the fact that their potential death drives the primary characters into action. The owls didn't get much screen time, and since the main cast failed to allow me to care, the owls not appearing made it hard to care whether or not the bulldozer crushed them all beneath it. Not caring about the thing that all of the characters believe matters a great deal means losing interest in the film happens far too easily and quickly, even if something interesting is happening like the far too few times when Jimmy Buffett, (who did the majority of the soundtrack and also produced the film), appears on-screen as the kids' teacher. Actually, if there is one positive to take from Hoot, it's the soundtrack, which features a bunch of licensed songs by semi-famous bands, as well as some tracks re-recorded by Jimmy Buffett himself. The soundtrack will help keep you awake and interested, even when nothing on the screen does. It's a peaceful track, but it's by and away more entertaining than the film is. I didn't give a hoot about Hoot, especially by the end. The characters didn't make me care, the story bored me, and even the owls, whose survival is the driving force behind the majority of the story, left me disinterested. The acting was poor, and the only real redeeming part of the film was the soundtrack. For younger audiences, it does preach a solid message, so if that's something that appeals to parents or babysitters, then put Hoot on and then go do something more interesting for a while.