Stanley Yelnats (Shia LaBeouf) is an unassuming adolescent whose family has been cursed for generations. One day, after Stanley is falsely accused of stealing a pair of sneakers, he is sentenced to 18 months at Camp Green Lake. But when he gets there, he discovers that this camp is really more like a prison. Under the supervision of the fiery Mr. Sir (Jon Voight) and goofy Dr. Pendanski (Tim Blake Nelson), Stanley and his cohorts must spend each day digging holes in the desert, in order \"to build character.\" Or at least that\'s what The Warden (Sigourney Weaver) says. When Stanley finally gathers up the courage to escape the camp, he and fellow escapee Zero (Khleo Thomas) stumble across a secret that will expose Camp Green Lake for the evil place that it is, and erase the Yelnats family curse forever.

Director Andrew Davis actually succeeds in making this layered story fairly intelligible...

Young Stanley Yelnats, Shia LaBoeuf, gets nabbed for having a stolen pair of shoes in his possession, admittedly they\'re a famous pair of shoes but still 18 months in a detention camp at Green Lake seems a bit rich. But Stanley comes from a family of losers as we\'ll find out in the course of the film. At Green Lake Stanley discovers a weird, desolate world ruled by The Warden, Sigourney Weaver, who has her charges digging holes 5 foot long and 5 foot deep. The landscape is dotted with them. Her enforcer Mr. Sir, John Voight, is a very strange creature. But it\'s Stanley\'s friendship with Zero, Khleo Thomas that\' s the heart of the story.There are back stories about Stanley\'s great great grandfather who had a curse put on him by a seer, Eartha Kitt, and an interracial love story between schoolteacher, Patricia Arquette, and an onion farmer, Dule Hill. And really it\'s all a bit much.

It\'s intriguing but confusing, possibly much more rewarding read as a novel than condensed into a movie. However the performances, particularly by the younger crowd, are convincing - Shia LaBoeuf is very good. Director Andrew Davis actually succeeds in making this layered story fairly intelligible.