Who's in It:
Logan Lerman, Jimmy Buffett, Tim Blake Nelson, Luke Wilson
The Basics: Three middle-school kids fight to save some owls and their habitat from greedy land developers, corrupt politicians and inept cops. It's not as terrible as it sounds.
What's the Deal? This is clearly a labor of love, a movie for kids about standing up to The Man. And it doesn't clear-cut the moral complexities either. One of the kids wants to save the endangered owls from a chain of pancake-house restaurants in a calm, rational way (not IHOP, for the record). Another is a prepubescent Earth First member who vandalizes cop cars and guerilla-actions his way to righteousness. And the movie doesn't have a problem with that. So that's kind of cool.
What's Lame: It feels sort of lazy, and the scenes have a got-it-on-the-first-take quality. That probably says more about the budget than anything else, but it still makes this a movie you feel you have to make allowances for just because you like its Kid Power message.
What's Lamer: Jimmy Buffett. He plays the science teacher, and he wrote some terrible songs for the soundtrack. Being the producer wasn't enough for him. He had to be on camera, too. Why not just get Kenny Chesney on board, too, Jim? He could have been one of the bumbling cops.
For Ages: 7-12. And their Greenpeace-supporting parents.