4.7/10
6,564
38 user 100 critic

Shorts (2009)

Trailer
2:22 | Trailer
A young boy's discovery of a colorful, wish-granting rock causes chaos in the suburban town of Black Falls when jealous kids and scheming adults alike set out to get their hands on it.

Director:

Robert Rodriguez

Writers:

Robert Rodriguez, Álvaro Rodríguez (additional story concepts)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jimmy Bennett ... Toe Thompson
Jake Short ... Nose Noseworthy
Kat Dennings ... Stacey Thompson
Trevor Gagnon ... Loogie
Devon Gearhart ... Cole Black
Jolie Vanier ... Helvetica Black
Rebel Rodriguez ... Lug
Leo Howard ... Laser
Leslie Mann ... Mom Thompson
Jon Cryer ... Dad Thompson
William H. Macy ... Dr. Noseworthy
James Spader ... Mr. Black
Angela Lanza ... Teacher
Alejandro Rose-Garcia ... John / Boyfriend
Cambell Westmoreland Cambell Westmoreland ... Blinker #1
Learn more

More Like This 

Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.5/10 X  

A young boy is recruited by his imaginary friends Sharkboy and Lavagirl to help save their planet.

Director: Robert Rodriguez
Stars: Cayden Boyd, George Lopez, Kristin Davis
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

The Cortez siblings set out for a mysterious island, where they encounter a genetic scientist and a set of rival spy kids.

Director: Robert Rodriguez
Stars: Alexa PenaVega, Daryl Sabara, Antonio Banderas
Spy Kids (2001)
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

The children of secret-agent parents must save them from danger.

Director: Robert Rodriguez
Stars: Alexa PenaVega, Daryl Sabara, Antonio Banderas
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.5/10 X  

A retired spy is called back into action, and to bond with her new step-children, she invites them along for the adventure to stop the evil Timekeeper from taking over the world.

Director: Robert Rodriguez
Stars: Jessica Alba, Jeremy Piven, Joel McHale
The Muppets' Wizard of Oz (TV Movie 2005)
Adventure | Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

This version of The Wizard of Oz is played by the Muppets!

Director: Kirk R. Thatcher
Stars: Ashanti, Jeffrey Tambor, Quentin Tarantino
Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

School's out. Summer vacation is on. However, Greg may not have the best summer vacation ever. What could go wrong?

Director: David Bowers
Stars: Zachary Gordon, Robert Capron, Devon Bostick
Comedy | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

The adventures of a 12 year old who is fresh out of elementary and transitions to middle school, where he has to learn the consequences and responsibility to survive the year.

Director: Thor Freudenthal
Stars: Zachary Gordon, Robert Capron, Rachael Harris
Crash & Bernstein (2012–2014)
Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

Wyatt Bernstein is a typical boy who enjoys hanging out at the local arcade with his friend Pesto. In a household full of females, Wyatt desperately wishes for a brother he could do fun guy... See full summary »

Stars: Cole Jensen, Tim Lagasse, Landry Bender
Bedhead (1991)
Short | Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Two feuding siblings find their usual mischief augmented when psychic powers are suddenly thrown into the mix.

Director: Robert Rodriguez
Stars: Rebecca Rodriguez, David Rodriguez, Tina Rodriguez
Adventure | Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

A group of kids must protect their vacation home from invading aliens.

Director: John Schultz
Stars: Ashley Tisdale, Robert Hoffman, Carter Jenkins
Zookeeper (2011)
Comedy | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

A group of zoo animals decide to break their code of silence in order to help their lovable zookeeper find love, without opting to leave his current job for something more illustrious.

Director: Frank Coraci
Stars: Kevin James, Rosario Dawson, Leslie Bibb
Comedy | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Molly Mahoney is the manager of Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, the awesome toy store owned by Mr. Edward Magorium. Molly was a promising composer and piano player when she was a girl, and ... See full summary »

Director: Zach Helm
Stars: Natalie Portman, Dustin Hoffman, Jason Bateman

Photos

Edit

Storyline

A young boy's discovery of a colorful, wish-granting rock causes chaos in the suburban town of Black Falls when jealous kids and scheming adults alike set out to get their hands on it.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Not So TALL Tales From The Director Of 'Spy Kids'

Genres:

Comedy | Family | Fantasy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild action and some rude humor | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Six episodes are announced in the film with title frames: Episode 0, "The Blinkers" (00:07-01:56); Episode 1, "The Wishing Rock" (30:33-41:22); Episode 2, "Alien8ed" (08:57-30:29); Episode 3, "The Miscommunicators!" (54:31-69:36); Episode 4, "Big Bad Booger" (41:37-54:27 but which is announced at 43:37 when Stacey exits the decontaminator); and Episode 5, "The End" (69:50-83:03). See more »

Goofs

Nose hits a mailbox and lands face first in a pool of mud, yet there's not that much on him. See more »

Quotes

Laser: [about the telephone] Change your head back, Loogie.
Loogie: This has certain advantages.
Laser: What advantages?
Loogie: [the phone rings. Loogie turns his head and there is a pickup sound] Hello?
Laser: [Laser smacks his forehead exaggeratedly]
Loogie: All right, I wish the phone was gone.
[the phone disappears from Loogie's head]
See more »

Crazy Credits

When the closing credits reach the song section, Jimmy Bennett states he wrote the song 'Summer Never Ends' thereby his wish came true See more »


Soundtracks

Summer Never Ends
Words and Music by Jimmy Bennett
Courtesy Jimmy Bennett Publishing Designee (BMI)
Copyright © 2009
See more »

User Reviews

 
Could have been great if there were more effort put into it
17 December 2009 | by DonFishiesSee all my reviews

Told in a very disjointed style, Shorts tells the tale of a group of children and adults living in the secluded Black Falls community where the popular Black Box all-in-one gadget is created. A rainbow coloured "wishing rock" falls from the sky during a rain storm, and bizarrely imaginative wishes are granted one-by-one for everyone that gets their hands on it. But not all wishes are as good as others.

Robert Rodriguez, an all-in-one filmmaker unlike any other, has created another imaginative family film I imagine he is proud of because he can sit and watch it with his children. While the man made his bones on bullet strewn bloody epics like Desperado and Frank Miller's Sin City, he has never been one to shy away from the family genre. But with every entry, the work just continues to become sloppier. Inspired by his children or not, Rodriguez must have known Shorts was a bad idea from the start. But this clearly mattered very little.

I am clearly in the wrong demographic to even begin deciphering what works and what does not in Shorts, but the film is a mess from start to finish. Employing a bit of the style of his buddy Quentin Tarantino, Rodriguez fashions the movie to work as smaller, unorganized stories within a grander framework (thus explaining the title of this opus). It is never confusing, but it becomes really annoying listening to the narrator, main character Toby "Toe" Thompson (Jimmy Bennett) tell us he does not remember the way the story goes every time the story jumps back or forward. Even worse is the addition of rewind, fast forward, and pause buttons that keep appearing during the film. Sure it is quirky and amusing the first time it shows up, but it just becomes bothersome and irritating as the film goes on. It really makes no sense why it is not told in any chronological order and just seems like Rodriguez mixed it up just to make the film a bit more interesting than it actually is.

The film's storyline, as simplistic as it is, really offers nothing new to the family genre. Inherent issues about crumbling family units, making friends, and just genuinely finding your place in the world have all been done to death, as have stories about people wishing for things. And while some of the issues do succeed in being imaginative and unique, the stereotypical family film issues are anything but. Rodriguez throws them all into the film (and even a minor subplot about small green aliens) with a no-holds barred attitude dictated by a man who could care less what people think. And when the film reaches its credits, it really feels like all he did was throw ideas at the wall and went with the ones that stuck.

As said, the imaginative wishes provided throughout the film by every character are what make the film. A booger monster, walking crocodiles and a baby who can speak to other through her mind are just the start of what you can expect to see during Shorts. And as the film goes on, the ideas just become sillier and more creative as they go along. But sadly, they do not appear all appear to be coming from the mind of Rodriguez. And that is where the film hits another bad turn: the special effects that create these wishes leaves a lot to be desired. Almost every single one looks freakishly amateur and unpolished. I know Rodriguez does a lot of the work himself, but after watching something as digital and special effects friendly as Frank Miller's Sin City, and how realistic that looks, it is a bit sad to look at this mess of a film as being from the same film-making group. It just feels all too disappointing, and like it was just pumped out too quickly before it was really perfected.

The acting, much like the rest of the film, is not all that great. Bennett is amusing in the lead role, giving everything he can as a child actor. Yet it does not seem like he was provided much to do outside of what the script asks for. He has a much stronger presence as a supporting character in Orphan, and was better even in his minuscule role as Young Kirk in the recent Star Trek reimagining. I was much more impressed with newcomer Jolie Vanier as the villainess Helvetica. She appears to have really dug into her bad girl role, and is given ample opportunity to make something of the role. And in a movie like this, that is never really all too hard. Adult actors like Kat Dennings, William H. Macy, Jon Cryer, Leslie Mann and James Spader are all given a fair amount to do, but never really seem to give it their all. They just seem to be going through the motions, acting as ridiculous and goofy as they need to, and not doing much else.

I started writing this review a few weeks ago after seeing the film, but forgot about finishing it. After watching the movie, it feels like Rodriguez acted the same way when he was writing and putting the film together. There are a few shells of interesting ideas that are on display at various points throughout the film, but they are never fully realized. I can really appreciate the family aspect of the production, and how much of a one-man team Rodriguez is. But this is just not a great film. It has imagination, but it lacks the ability to really stretch and mold it into something worthwhile. It easily could have been made into a stronger film if anyone on the team really put some effort into it. As it is, the newcomer Vanier is the only real reason to even attempt to sit through it.

3/10.

(Portions of this review originally appeared on http://www.dvdfanatic.com).


16 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 38 user reviews »

Videos

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »
Edit

Details

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 August 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Shorts: The Adventures of the Wishing Rock See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,410,339, 23 August 2009

Gross USA:

$20,919,166

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$28,972,508
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series



Recently Viewed