Nim (Abigail Breslin) lives with her scientist father (Gerard Butler) on their own tropical island. They have all the modern conveniences and are devoted to one another. One day, Dad gets lost at sea and Nim starts an email correspondence with Alex Rover (Jodie Foster), the neurotic, agoraphobic author of Nim's favorite adventure novels. Alex vows to come to Nim's island to help the little girl.
If I were eight years old, I'd have fallen in love with this movie. It's all about living a dream-life with a great father and lots of spunky wild animals to play with. But I'm not eight, and I found the movie way too precious and utterly boring. Foster had a few cute scenes as the phobic hermit, but seemed wrong for the part. Butler is eye-candy for the ladies but seemed to phone in his performance, and Breslin looked too old for the part, rattling off dialogue that sounded like, well, movie dialogue or a clever Leno interview. She was too perfect, confidant, and capable and lacked the cuteness and sincereity she had in earlier movies (Signs and Little Miss Sunshine).
While the island scenery was lovely, there was a lot of obvious CGI and the movie felt like an over-long cartoon. There is never any doubt that the movie will end happily and the lack of suspense ruined it for me. Highly recommended for kids; adults may find it provides a nice nap.