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The movie is based on a book I've never read. It's about this kid named Roy Eberhardt, whose family has moved at least six times over the years, most recently to Montana, the first place Roy ever felt at home. But then they move again, this time to Cononut Cove, Florida. Of course, Roy wasn't exactly thrilled about this, especially as a bully named Dana Matherson immediately starts picking on him. That situation is made worse when Roy breaks Dana's nose trying to get free from Dana's strangle-hold.
Meanwhile, Roy has become obsessed with learning who this fast-running, barefoot kid is he's seen a few times. Clearly, the kid doesn't want to talk to anyone. But Roy does make a couple of friends. First is a kid named Garrett, though really he doesn't seem to have much of a role in the film. More importantly, there's Beatrice "the bear" Leep, who is a soccer player, and seems possibly even more dangerous than Dana. At first she doesn't like Roy, but it turns out she's the barefoot kid's stepsister. She calls her stepbrother "Mullet Fingers," for an unimportant reason that is eventually explained. (I don't recall ever hearing his real name.) Oh, speaking of nicknames, Dana called Roy "Cowgirl," and then it seems other kids started calling him that, too. Or maybe it was just Beatrice, I forget. But eventually she stops calling him that... though it was some time after they became friends that she finally started calling him Roy.
Anyway. There's also a police officer named Delinko, who is investigating serial vandalism at the construction site for the latest outlet in a national pancake house franchise (Mother Paula's Pancakes, I believe), which was about to open in Coconut Cove. The foreman, Curly Branitt, is upset that Delinko hasn't been able to catch the vandal. And then there's a regional manager, Chuck Muckle, who is upset that Curly hasn't been able to stop the vandalism, and so construction is behind schedule and over budget. Anway, Delinko... is kind of inept, definitely a bumbler, but even so, he's a nice guy, and more intelligent than his captain gives him credit for. He might make a good police detective... not a great one, mind you, but whatever.
Um. So, anyway. What other characters should I mention? There's Roy's parents, and there's an actress named Kimberly, who plays Mother Paula in TV ads. (She dresses up as an older, grandmotherly woman, which kind of reminds me of Mom's robot company from Futurama, except that "Mom" really is old, just not so motherly, whereas Kimberly is much younger, but fairly nice.) Chuck Muckle is her boss, and he doesn't treat her well, nor does he treat anyone well. Because he's just a major jerk who's only interested in opening his 100th pancake house, and thus breaking some kind of record, I guess. I don't really understand why an actress doing TV spots for a national chain would work for a regional manager, but whatever. Um... oh yeah, and another character of very little importance to the movie is a science teacher at Roy's new school, Mr. Ryan (played by Jimmy Buffett, who also sang a bunch of songs on the soundtrack). I think those are all the characters even remotely worth mentioning.
Anyway. It turns out Mullet Fingers is responsible for the vandalism on the construction site, because the site happens to be the home of some burrowing owls. And Muckle and Curly are aware of the owls, but they're trying to prevent anyone else from finding out about them, otherwise they couldn't build there. But Mullet knows, and he's trying to protect the owls. And of course, Beatrice helps, and soon Roy also starts helping. And there's a whole side story about some family troubles Mullet had, so he's living on his own, and has to stay hidden from everyone. And... I'm not really sure what else to say, without spoiling anything.
Well, the movie's okay. Not something I ever need to see again. Kind of bland, but at least I don't feel like it was a waste of my time. I guess. I dunno.