Some of these pictures and descriptions may give away plot details that you might not want to know before watching the film.
This is a comedy aimed at teens, with lots of life lessons for everybody to learn. Not my sort of thing, but I watched it for the rattlesnake scene and because Jenny Lewis is in it and while I've been a longtime fan of her music I've never seen any of her acting. She's a young teenager here in a small role as the cute fashion and boys obsessed older sister of Laura, the movie's awkward tween narrator, who looks at the camera and tells us how disfunctional her family is, including her mother and all of her stepfathers and their new spouses and all of her stepbrothers and stepsisters (the original title was Step Kids.) Feeling ignored and unloved on her birthday, Laura runs away from home, hiding in her stepbrother David's truck. David ran away years earlier and lives and works at a campground resort by a lake in the Sierra Nevada in Mono County. When Laura's mother and the rest of her assorted family members all drive their cars up to David's cabin, Laura freaks out and runs away again, forcing everybody else to stay together uncomfortably and learn to live with each other.
Typical of snake scenes in most movies, the snake scene here is grotesque and unnecessarily demonizes rattlesnakes. It occurs after everybody goes out to look for Laura but her younger brothers are forbidden to help. They go off on their own and hike into the woods to look for her. Their disappearance then makes them the objects of another search. At the exact moment that their father and older brother find them, they see and hear a rattlesnake. (An unlikely coincidence but not impossible.) The younger brother freezes, fearing the snake will bite him if he moves, even though it looks like he's well out of the snakes's striking range. His older brother Kurt walks around to the rear of the snake where he picks it up by the tail then whips it repeatedly on the ground while screaming savagely until David stops him, telling him the snake is "rehabilitated." The younger brother, a science nerd, identifies the species of snake as "Crotalus viridis - timber variety" then confesses that he was so afraid that he peed his pants. David responds with the idiotic statement: "Well, whatever he was, he's a belt now."
(Crotalus viridis is the old name for Crotalus oreganus, which is one of the correct species for that part of Mono County. There is no "timber variety" but that is a common name for rattlesnakes found in the forest so I'll let that slide. But to really get science nerdy I need to add that the live snake used for the movie is a different species - most likely a Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake. The snake that was picked up is apparently dead, and it is a different snake from the live one we see. It is different in pattern and color. It's either another diamond-back or a Red-diamond Rattlesnake. I'd guess that the snake that the boy whipped was a third one - a fake snake prop.)
Through his demented snake-smashing, Kurt proves that he is really brave, while throughout the movie he was only pretending to be so, but the scene is done in an unnecessarily stupid macho cliche manner, and Kurt's decision to pick up a dangerous snake with his bare hands is the only really dangerous part of the encounter. The ONLY thing the boys would have ever needed to do in that encounter was just simply walk away from the snake, but since they did not, and since the movie uses a rattlesnake as if it is a deadly ticking time bomb, the only lesson anyone learns about snakes from this and in many similar scenes in movies is that all snakes must die because all they ever want to do is kill people. The lesson I learned is that whoever thought this snake scene was a good idea should be whipped on the ground until they are "rehabilitated."