Shorts (2009 film)

Shorts (also known as Shorts: The Adventures of the Wishing Rock and released internationally as The Wishing Rock) is a 2009 American comic fantasy family film written and directed by Robert Rodriguez.[1] The film stars Jon Cryer, William H. Macy, Leslie Mann, James Spader, Jimmy Bennett and Kat Dennings.

Shorts: The Adventures of the Wishing Rock
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRobert Rodriguez
Written byRobert Rodriguez
Produced by
CinematographyRobert Rodriguez
Edited by
Music by
  • George Oldziey
  • Robert Rodriguez
  • Carl Thiel
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • October 3, 2008 (2008-10-03)
(European world premiere)
  • August 21, 2009 (2009-08-21)
(wide release)
Running time
89 minutes
CountryUnited States[1]
Budget$20 million
Box office$29 million

Shorts: The Adventures of the Wishing Rock made its world premiere screening on August 15, 2009 at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California. Shortly after that, the movie was theatrically released in the United States on August 21, 2009 by Warner Bros. Pictures.[2] The film grossed $29 million[3] on a $20 million budget. It received mixed reviews from critics. It received a Young Artist Award nomination for Best Performance in a Feature Film. Shorts: The Adventures of the Wishing Rock was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 24 November 2009 by Warner Home Video. A Wii and Nintendo DS video game of the same name was announced on 23 June 2009 with a prospective July release date in advance of the film's release, but was canceled.[4]


The film starts with a very busy suburban town in Austin, Texas called Black Falls Community, where every adult always works and citizens and children use the companies famous product "The Black Box" a technological device that can turn into almost any gadget imaginable. (Some of the events will be considered as "episodes" and will be randomized due to the narrator being unable to correctly remember the order of events.)

Episode One A rainbow colored Wishing Rock appears at the home of Loogie (Trevor Gagnon), Laser (Leo Howard), and Lug (Rebel Rodriguez) Short, and they eventually wish that one of them was very smart. However, the power is given to their infant sister (portrayed by Bianca Rodriguez and voiced by Elizabeth Avellan). She convinces the boys to dispose of the rock, which Cole finds the next day to throw at Toby.

Episode Two Toby Thompson (Jimmy Bennett) is bullied by Helvetica Black (Jolie Vanier) and her brother Cole (Devon Gearhart) on the way to school. Toby speculates that Helvetica has feelings for him, infuriating Helvetica, and Toby is dumped in a trash can. Later that day after school, Cole and his gang to start throwing rocks at Toby. One of the rocks they throw is the wishing rock, which Toby uses to wish for friends, which come in the form of small aliens. Toby takes the aliens to school, but their presence causes Toby and Helvetica to fall from the school's roof. This results in both Toby and Helvetica having casts put on both arms. The aliens leave, but Toby keeps the rock.

Episode Three Toby’s parents, Bill and Jane Thompson (Leslie Mann and Jon Cryer), like all adults in the town, work for Black Box Unlimited Worldwide Industries Incorporated, which manufactures the "Black Box" universal gadget. They are assigned by Mr. Carbon Black (James Spader), owner of Black Box, to compete to create a new marketing strategy. Jane finds the rock in Toby’s room and takes it. She and Mr. Thompson go to a Black Box costume party. Since they were having trouble with their relationship, she wishes that she and her husband were closer. They become merged into a two-headed person, but Carbon thinks that they're wearing a costume.

Meanwhile, Toby realizes that his mother took the rock and rushes to the costume party, but runs into Helvetica and Cole, who take the rock and dump him in the garbage. An infuriated Hel wishes that Cole would turn into a dung beetle and then loses the rock. The rock is found by Carbon who, unaware of its power, accidentally wishes for all of the employees to go for each other's throats. In the chaos, Toby retrieves the rock and wishes everyone back to normal. Helvetica takes the rock, wishes off her casts, and escapes before Toby throws the rock as far as he can, where it lands at the Noseworthy's house.

Episode Four Toby’s older sister Stacey (Kat Dennings) arrives to tutor "Nose" Noseworthy (Jake Short), Toby’s old, germaphobic friend. Nose picks his nose against his father's wishes and accidentally flicks the booger into his father's radioactive work study. Toby and Loogie, now friends, arrive at Nose's house in time to see Nose's booger mutate into a giant monster. After helping Nose's father (William H. Macy) capture the monster outside, Toby and Loogie take the rock and leave.

Episode Five As Toby and Loogie contemplate what to do with the rock, Toby wishes his casts on his arm are off. They are suddenly ambushed by the rest of the kids and fight until the rock winds up in the hands of Carbon. Carbon wishes that he was the most powerful thing in the world and turns into a giant Black Box robot. The infant tells them that the rock is starting to feel misused, as shown by the fact that the rock starts undoing all of their wishes. She also tells them the rock could destroy the Earth because of all of the petty wishes they make. Together they get rid of the rock and all of its effects are undone. Toby’s parents decide to work on the marketing plan together and Carbon agrees. Carbon changes the Black Box into the more environmentally friendly Green Box. The Noseworthys lose their germaphobia, Toby’s parents become closer, and it is suggested that Helvetica and Toby will marry in the future. All the children become friends and wished that their story would become a Hollywood movie, breaking the 4th wall.



  • Jimmy Bennett as Toby Thompson, a boy who was the second to find the wishing rock.
  • Jolie Vanier as Helvetica Black, Mr. Black's daughter and a classmate of Toby's. She frequently bullies Toby, but secretly has a crush on him.
  • Trevor Gagnon as Loogie Short, a boy who found the wishing rock. When he had the wishing rock he wished for unreasonable stuff. He flirted with Toby's older sister throughout the movie.
  • Jake Short as "Nose" Noseworthy, a germophobe scientist like his father and Toby's old friend.
  • Rebel Rodriguez as Lug Short, Loogie's second older brother. He is the most video game obsessed and easily angered of the three Short brothers.
  • Leo Howard as Laser Short, Loogie's older brother. He seems to be the smartest of the three Short brothers.
  • Bianca Rodriguez as the Short brothers' infant sister, simply referred to as "(the) Baby". She is voiced by Elizabeth Avellan.
  • Devon Gearhart as Colbert "Cole" Black, Carbon's son and captain of the football team. He's Hel's brother who cares deeply for her and is the leader of his own gang which Hel sometimes leads.
  • Racer Rodriguez as Bully #1, a football player who is a member of Cole's gang.
  • Rocket Rodriguez as Bully #2, also a football player who is a member of Cole's gang.
  • Cambell Westmoreland as Blinker #1
  • Zoe Webb as Blinker #2



Spy Kids creator Robert Rodriguez is the film's director, producer, writer, editor, cinematographer and music composer.

On 11 January 2008, it was announced that Robert Rodriguez would direct, produce and write a 2009 American and Emirati[1] live action and animated family science fiction fantasy adventure comedy movie which features live action and CGI animation titled Shorts also known as Shorts: The Adventures of the Wishing Rock.

On 16 July 2008, it was announced that Jimmy Bennett would play the lead role in the film, while Jon Cryer, Leslie Mann and Kat Dennings were in early talks to join the cast. On 17 July 2008, William H. Macy, Jolie Vanier, Devon Gearhart, James Spader and Trevor Gagnon were also in final talks to join the film, Rebel Rodriguez, Leo Howard, Bianca Rodriguez, Elizabeth Avellan, Jake Short, Racer Rodriguez, Rocket Rodriguez, Alejandro Rose-Garcia, Cambell Westmoreland and Zoe Webb were added to the cast.

Shorts: The Adventures of the Wishing Rock was filmed in Austin, Texas. The special effects were done by KNB EFX Group, Troublemaker Digital Studios and Hybride Technologies for the animation.

George Oldziey, Robert Rodriguez and Carl Thiel scored the music for the film on its soundtrack and the film's soundtrack contains "Spy Ballet" performed by Robert Rodriguez and "Summer Never Ends" performed by Jimmy Bennett. Warner Bros. Pictures distributed the film.[1]


Shorts: The Adventures of the Wishing Rock was released in cinemas on 21 August 2009 in the US by Warner Bros. Pictures, and on DVD and Blu-ray on 24 November 2009 by Warner Home Video.[citation needed]


Critical responseEdit

Jimmy Bennett was praised by critics for his performance.

The film holds a 47% approval rating on critical response aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 103 reviews. The site's critical consensus reads, "Shorts has imagination and energy, but most viewers beyond elementary school will likely tire of the kiddie humor and sensory overload."[5] On Metacritic, the film holds a score of 53 out of 100, based on 22 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[6] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average of "C+" on an A+ to F scale.[7]

Box officeEdit

For its opening weekend, the film made $6.4 million, an average of $2,065 per each of 3,105 theaters.[3] It opened at #6, being overshadowed by Inglourious Basterds, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, and Julie & Julia. Overall, the grossed about $20.9 million in the United States and Canada, and about $29 million worldwide.[3]


List of awards and nominations
Award Category Nominee Result
Young Artist Awards 2010 Best Performance in a Feature Film - Young Ensemble Cast Jimmy Bennett, Jake Short, Devon Gearhart, Leo Howard, Jolie Vanier, Trevor Gagnon Won
Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actress Jolie Vanier Nominated


Shorts: The Adventures of the Wishing Rock
Soundtrack album / Film score by
George Oldziey, Robert Rodriguez and Carl Thiel
GenreMovie Soundtrack, Film Score
LabelWarner Bros. Records
ProducerRobert Rodriguez
Singles from Shorts: The Adventures of the Wishing Rock: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
  1. "Summer Never Ends"
    Released: 2009

George Oldziey, Robert Rodriguez and Carl Thiel scored the music for the film on its soundtrack and the film's soundtrack contains "Spy Ballet" performed by Robert Rodriguez and "Summer Never Ends" performed by Jimmy Bennett. The soundtrack was released in 2009 by Warner Bros. Records.

Songs and music


  1. ^ a b c d
  2. ^ "Detail view of Movies Page". Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  3. ^ a b c "Shorts (2009)". Box Office Mojo. 17 December 2009. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
  4. ^ "Majesco Entertainment Announces 'Shorts' for Nintendo DS". Majesco Entertainment. PR Newsire. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
  5. ^ "Shorts: The Adventures of the Wishing Rock". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
  6. ^ "Shorts". Metacritic. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  7. ^ "CinemaScore".

External linksEdit