Toby "Toe" Thompson (Jimmy Bennett) a 12-year old is bullied by Helvetica "Hel" Black (Jolie Vanier) and her 14-year old brother Cole (Devon Gearhart) on the way to school. Toe speculates that Hel loves him, infuriating Hel and leading Cole and his gang to start throwing rocks at Toe. One of the rocks they throw is a rainbow colored wishing rock, which Toe uses to wish for friends, which come in the form of small aliens. Toe takes the aliens to school, but their presence causes Toe and Hel to fall from the school's roof. The aliens leave, but Toe keeps the rock.
Previously, the Wishing Rock appeared at the home of Loogie (Trevor Gagnon), Laser (Leo Howard), and Lug (Rebel Rodriguez) Short, and they eventually wished that one of them was very smart. However, the power was given to their infant sister (portrayed by Bianca Rodriguez and voiced by Elizabeth Avellan). She convinced the boys to hide the rock and Cole found it the next day to throw at Toe.
Toe's older sister Stacey (Kat Dennings) arrives to tutor "Nose" Noseworthy (Jake Short), Toe'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. Toe 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, Toe and Loogie take the rock and leave.
Toe's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Thomson (Leslie Mann and Jon Cryer), like all adults in the town, work for Black Box Unlimited Worldwide Industries Incorporated, which manufactures the universal "Black Box" gadget. They are assigned by Mr. Carbon Black (James Spader), owner of Black Box, to compete to create a new marketing strategy. Toe's mother finds the rock in Toe'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 mutated together into a two-headed person, but Mr. Black thinks that they're wearing a costume.
Meanwhile, Toe realizes that his mother took the rock and rushes to the costume party, but runs into Hel and Cole, who take the rock and dump him in the garbage. Hel wishes that Cole would turn into a dung beetle and then loses the rock. The rock is found by Mr. Black who, unaware of its power, accidentally wishes for all of the employees to go for each other's throats. In the chaos, Toe retrieves the rock and wishes everyone back to normal. Hel takes the stone, wishes off her casts, and escapes before Toe throws the rock as far as he can, where it lands at the Noseworthy's house.
As Toe and Loogie contemplate what to do with the rock, they are ambushed by the rest of the kids and fight until the rock winds up in the hands of Mr. Black. Mr. Black wishes that he was the most powerful thing in the world and turns into a giant Black Box. 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. Toe's parents decide to work on the marketing plan together and Mr. Black agrees. Mr. Black changes the Black Box into the more environmentally friendly Green Box. The Noseworthys lose their germaphobia, Toe's parents become closer, and it is suggested that Hel and Toe 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 "Toe" Thompson a 11 years old boy who was the second to finds the wishing rock
Jolie Vanier as Helvetica Black, a 11-year old bully girl who secretly has a crush on Toby.
Trevor Gagnon as Loogie Short, a 12-year old 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 12-year old germophobe scientist like his father and Toby's old friend.
Rebel Rodriguez as Lug Short, Loogie's 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 14-year old son and captain of the football team. He's Helvetica's brother who cares deeply for her and is the leader of his own gang which Helvetica sometimes leads.
Racer Rodriguez as Bully #1, a member of Cole's gang.
Rocket Rodriguez as Bully #2, also a member of Cole's gang.
Cambell Westmoreland as Blinker #1
Zoe Webb as Blinker #2
Jon Cryer as Mr. Bill Thompson, Toby's father who works at Black Box, Inc.
Leslie Mann as Mrs. Jane Thompson, Toby's mother who also works at Black Box, Inc.
James Spader as Mr. Carbon Black, a greedy man who invented the Black Box and founded the Black Box Community.
William H. Macy as Dr. Noseworthy, A germophobe scientist who doesn't like Contamination.
Kat Dennings as Stacey Thompson, Toby's 20 years old older sister.
Alejandro Rose-Garcia as John, Stacey's boyfriend.
On January 11, 2009, it was announced that Robert Rodriguez would direct, produce and write a 2009 American and Emirati 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, Shorts: A Not-So Tall Tale only on the trailer and released internationally as The Wishing Rock which would be released in cinemas on 21 August 2009 in the USA and Elizabeth Avellán would also produce the film with the budget of $20 million.
On July 16, 2009, 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 July 17, 2009, 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 on July 28, 2009. 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 to 2,160 screens in the United States.
Shorts: The Adventures of the Wishing Rock was released in cinemas on 21 August 2009 in the USA by Warner Bros. Pictures, and on DVD and Blu-ray on November 24, 2009 by Warner Home Video.
The film holds a 45% approval rating on critical response aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 100 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." On Metacritic, the film holds a score of 53 out of 100, based on 22 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
For its opening weekend, the film made $6.4 million, an average of $2,065 per each of 3,105 theaters. 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.
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
Spy Ballet – Robert Rodriguez
Summer Never Ends – Jimmy Bennett
All Music – Composed by George Oldziey, Robert Rodriguez and Carl Thiel