This movie makes it clear that unpopular teenagers can make a difference in the world, especially when they band together to help save lives from polluted water.
It’s the first day of summer, as described by the radio announcer who says, “Bikers, get ready to ride. It’s going to be a warm, beautiful day.” Robbie (Coleman Christian) rides his bike to visit his friend, Brewster (Max Gerstenberg), who is working on a science experiment. Robbie kids him and calls him a “nerd.” As the movie progresses, we hear Brewster say on several occasions, “Science calls!” Part of the gang includes red-headed Eric (Corban Jaaz), who teases Robbie for liking Brewster’s sister, Diana (Alexa Feldman). He tells Robbie he used to hold onto a teddy bear and call out, “Diana!” Included in the gang is Grace (Ashtine Besteda), a young girl who seems to be the voice of reason in the group.
A key figure in the story, Mr. Stineman (Donald Imm), greets the gang as they go by, asking them if they’re going to stay out of trouble. “I’ll keep them out of trouble—I’ll keep them in line, Mr. Stineman,” Eric tells him. “Now, why do I doubt that?” jokes Mr. Stineman.
New ownership is re-opening the Smithson Paper factory, which will create dozens of new jobs and help the community. Kerri Smithson (Brittany Goodwin) is the supervisor, and she is more concerned about profits than safety. She works with the mayor, Mayor Randolph (Jason J. Little,) to bring a prosperity boom to the town of Towsonville.
Brewster and his sister Diana’s dad, Drew, works at the paper factory, and he is glad to be putting bread on the table due to the job. When he voices some concerns over possible pollutants in the water from the factory, he is given a promotion and double salary by Smithson. He decides to accept with the plan to keep an eye on things. Things have not been easy for Drew, Diana, and Brewster as Drew’s wife (and their mom) passed away some time ago. But Drew is doing his best to be a good dad, having promised to get a car for Diana if she brought her grades up, and she did – and he kept his promise.
In a funny scene, the group goes fishing but they strike out and don’t catch anything. Grace says she’d stay below water too like the fish because of the heat. When Eric says, “Spoken like a true girl,” the next thing you know Grace has Eric in a headlock, and tells him to, “Take it back!” He does and then replies, “Well played, Grace, well played!”
Drew expresses his concern to Kerri about the water, and she tells him it’s fine, but just to be safe, to tell the kids to stay out of the water! Later, Robbie and Diana go to the water, and they notice it’s murky but they jump in anyway. Diane’s foot is caught on something and then she passes out. Robbie calls for help and Brewster arrives, as does Grace. They decide she needs CPR and fortunately Robbie knows how to administer it. Diane winds up coughing up some water and she is all right. “You saved me,” Diana tells Robbie. Diana doesn’t feel well the next day and Drew and Brewster argue over Drew wanting the kids to stay out of the water. Diana likes to tease her brother, but she admits Brewster will probably get a Pulitzer before she earns a C in Geometry!
Some tension builds between Robbie and Brewster when Robbie begins hanging out with Diana instead of Brewster. Brewster starts to realize that there is definitely something up with the water when he and Robbie spot dead fish and a barrel which was dumped into the water. Also, Mr. Stineman becomes ill. “We have to get into the factory!” declares Robbie. So, they plot to have Grace be a diversion to the security guard, with the idea of the others getting into the factory and trying to find a report and proof about the toxic pollutants getting into the water. Eric has another funny line when the group is talking about healthy and unhealthy elements, and he states that, “Twinkies are healthy! They give you dopamine and carbohydrates.”
There are several things to think about in the film, including the grief that Drew and his two kids feel over his wife and the kids’ mother being gone. This is a good discussion topic to have with kids. Also, the awkwardness of first love as Robbie and Diana discover they have feelings for one another. In addition, doing the right thing is an important theme in the movie, as the kids know something is up with what is being dumped in the water, and they are determined to find out what it is and expose it.
What they learn is truly shocking, but they don’t desire to have the factory shut down and for a lot of people to lose their jobs. At one point, Brewster finds himself crawling around in a vent to learn some factory secrets and he tells his friends, “If I die in there, don’t let Diana take my room!” The teens work on a solution that should take care of the problem but help the factory remain open. This movie has procured our Dove seal for All Ages. Parents should consult the content listing as parents can decide for themselves if they are comfortable with their kids under age 12 watching the film. The movie ends with a few funny bloopers while the picture was being filmed.
THE DOVE TAKE: It’s terrific to see a film in which teens stand up for the environment, and care for others, and this one has a nice mixture of drama, comedy, and it’s a movie with a message.