Big Girls Don't Cry... They Get Even
13-year-old Laura Chartoff is a girl in a large dysfunctional family. After her parents' divorce, her father, David, a flaky artist, has now accumulated three ex-wives, a 4-year-old daughter, Jessie (with fourth wife Barbara, one of the wives Laura actually liked), and is living with Stephanie – who is pregnant with his twins. Laura's mother, Melinda, had her own two-day marriage and is now married to her third husband, Keith Powers.
Keith is a successful and seemingly selfish businessman and a widower with three kids of his own – resentful adult son Josh, self-obsessed teenage daughter Corinne (who bonds with her similarly shallow stepmother), and teenage son Kurt, who seems to be Keith's favorite, as he does whatever he tells him to do and as a result adopts a rather militaristic personality and is away from military school. With Melinda also picking Corrine as her favorite, this leaves Laura unintentionally shut out. Added to the mix of siblings and stepsiblings is Laura's half-brother, 10-year-old genius Sam, the result of an unexpected pregnancy for Melinda and Keith.
Josh visits his mother's grave on the anniversary of her death and then confronts Keith for forgetting the date. Later, Laura gets in trouble with Keith for talking with Josh. Having felt incredibly hurt by her family, Laura decides to run away, going to see Josh at his lakeside cabin. And for a time, Laura's actually relaxed and happy spending time with someone who enjoys her company. Josh, however, attempts to reach out to one of Laura's family members without her knowing. Keith deduces that Laura will be with Josh ("brats of a feather"). But when the family arrives at the cabin, Laura concludes that Josh betrayed her trust and runs away.
At the same time Barbara arrives with Jessie, as does Laura's father with Stephanie. It's during the search for Laura that all the family members are forced to live under the same roof. Laura meets a host of colorful characters along the way, including teen robbers and an all-too-happy family. Meanwhile, her family members each have their own experiences and realizations when it comes to themselves and their families. And as Laura is about to return, the police come with uncertain news and give her parents Laura's jacket.
The jacket has blood, though unknown to them, it's the blood of one of the robbers Laura punched. And its this small development that brings both her parents and step-parents that Laura could be hurt or worse. Laura arrives in time to see some of what's going on and gets surprised by Josh. She accuses him of betraying her to Melinda and Keith. But Josh reveals that he only called Barbara, knowing that Laura liked her. Josh helps her come to a conclusion you can't escape family. Laura returns to the cabin to embrace the "weirdness" of her extended family, who have all sorted out their own lives a little more during their shared search for Laura.
The movie was filmed using permits to access locations in California's east central Mammoth Ranger District in the Inyo National Forest, as well as locations in the (former) Arroyo Seco Ranger District of the Angeles National Forest near Los Angeles.