You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Otter 501

This ponderously paced mashup of painfully sincere drama and beautifully lensed documentary won't survive very long in the theatrical wilderness.

With:
With: Katie Pofahl.

It’s conceivable that “Otter 501,” which traces the real-life progress of an orphaned sea otter pup at California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium through the p.o.v. of a fictional volunteer at the facility, could serve some useful purpose as an educational tool for middle-schoolers learning about biology or ecology. But this ponderously paced mashup of painfully sincere drama and beautifully lensed documentary won’t survive very long in the theatrical wilderness, and will have to rely on exposure in ancillary streams to avoid quick and total extinction.

In an ill-considered attempt to bring a human touch to a wildlife doc, the pic is loosely structured as a series of Facebook video posts by the volunteer, who’s played — with more enthusiasm than ability — by Katie Pofahl, a freshwater biologist who shouldn’t quit her day job. Pofahl’s breathlessly chipper narration sounds like the spiel of a schoolteacher desperately eager to grab the attention of slow learners (“The ocean can really mess you up if you turn your back!”). But the pic’s strikingly attractive visuals suggest the volunteer had state-of-the-art camera technology, and an animation studio of some sort, at her disposal.

Otter 501

Production: A Paladin release of a Sea Studios Foundation production. Produced by Josh Rosen. Executive producers, Clint Jones, Mark Shelley. Directed by Bob Talbot. Screenplay, Josh Rosen, from a story by Mark Shelley.

Crew: Camera (color), Shelley; editor, Shirley Gutierrez; music, Marc Adler. Reviewed on DVD, Houston, May 9, 2012. Running time: 84 MIN.

With: With: Katie Pofahl.

More Film

  • 'The Night Eats the World' Review

    Tribeca Film Review: 'The Night Eats the World'

    It’s conceivable that “Otter 501,” which traces the real-life progress of an orphaned sea otter pup at California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium through the p.o.v. of a fictional volunteer at the facility, could serve some useful purpose as an educational tool for middle-schoolers learning about biology or ecology. But this ponderously paced mashup of painfully sincere […]

  • Bradley Cooper Robert De Niro

    Bradley Cooper on His Secret Pact With Lady Gaga for 'A Star is Born'

    It’s conceivable that “Otter 501,” which traces the real-life progress of an orphaned sea otter pup at California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium through the p.o.v. of a fictional volunteer at the facility, could serve some useful purpose as an educational tool for middle-schoolers learning about biology or ecology. But this ponderously paced mashup of painfully sincere […]

  • The seagull

    Tribeca Film Review: 'The Seagull'

    It’s conceivable that “Otter 501,” which traces the real-life progress of an orphaned sea otter pup at California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium through the p.o.v. of a fictional volunteer at the facility, could serve some useful purpose as an educational tool for middle-schoolers learning about biology or ecology. But this ponderously paced mashup of painfully sincere […]

  • Verne TroyerStarkey Hearing Foundation Awards Gala,

    Verne Troyer, Mini-Me in 'Austin Powers,' Dies at 49

    It’s conceivable that “Otter 501,” which traces the real-life progress of an orphaned sea otter pup at California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium through the p.o.v. of a fictional volunteer at the facility, could serve some useful purpose as an educational tool for middle-schoolers learning about biology or ecology. But this ponderously paced mashup of painfully sincere […]

  • 'Greatest Showman' Tops Disc Sales Charts

    'Greatest Showman' Tops Disc Sales Charts as 'Last Jedi' Slips to No. 2

    It’s conceivable that “Otter 501,” which traces the real-life progress of an orphaned sea otter pup at California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium through the p.o.v. of a fictional volunteer at the facility, could serve some useful purpose as an educational tool for middle-schoolers learning about biology or ecology. But this ponderously paced mashup of painfully sincere […]

  • Stockholm review

    Tribeca Film Review: Ethan Hawke in 'Stockholm'

    It’s conceivable that “Otter 501,” which traces the real-life progress of an orphaned sea otter pup at California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium through the p.o.v. of a fictional volunteer at the facility, could serve some useful purpose as an educational tool for middle-schoolers learning about biology or ecology. But this ponderously paced mashup of painfully sincere […]

  • READY PLAYER ONE

    Steven Spielberg's 'Ready Player One' Crosses $500 Million Worldwide

    It’s conceivable that “Otter 501,” which traces the real-life progress of an orphaned sea otter pup at California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium through the p.o.v. of a fictional volunteer at the facility, could serve some useful purpose as an educational tool for middle-schoolers learning about biology or ecology. But this ponderously paced mashup of painfully sincere […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content