More than a few critics liken the movie Hoot to an after-school special. It deals, after all, with a group of kids who set about to save burrowing owls from a development project. And while one would imagine that those critics, by and large, would welcome such content, the fact is that most of them can't give a hoot about it. Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times refers to the movie as "an inane dead zone of sitcom clich├ęs." Kyle Smith in the New York Post writes: "The movie pretends to take a kids' point of view, but it treats kids like idiots." What's really idiotic is the message, Jami Bernard suggests in the New York Daily News. She maintains that it "tacitly encourages kids to vandalize property and behave like little ecoterrorists. What's subversive about the movie is that it comes off as squeaky-clean, when in fact it's irresponsible." Adds Susan Walker in the Toronto Star: "If the burrowing owls and other threatened species in southern Florida have to depend on movies like this to raise public sympathy and awareness, they really are in trouble." A few critics are somewhat less harsh For example, Chris Kaltenbach in the Baltimore Sun calls it "harmless-enough fluff." And Ty Burr in the Boston Globe gives the film outright praise, noting that the movie "tells kids they can make a difference in this world."




05/05/2006