A Disney Channel
movie about a girl named Frances Bacon McCausland, an intelligent and level-headed teenage girl who is starting high school one year early. Suddenly, strange things start happening in her quiet little hometown of Middleberg: Dogs on people's roofs, alarm clocks going off three hours early, eggs all over a teacher's car, sweet gelatin in the swimming pool, and B's spray-painted all over town, including the lockers of the school—except for Frances' locker, which has a B inside it. All these weird pranks seem to point to Frances, but none of it makes sense to her.The only person who can help her in this situation is a guy only she can see
, Larry Houdini
. Larry tells Frances that she's being framed by the Boogeyman, and he seems to know what's going on better than she does. Frances has a difficult time believing what Larry tells her, because she's always tried to look at the world like an adult, using logic and facts to explain everything, after her little brother Darwin almost died from leukemia a few years ago.
Over time, the Boogeyman's pranks become more insidious and incriminating, which further ruins Frances' life, so the unlikely pair decides to put their heads together to find this Boogeyman and get rid of him before he hurts someone.
The film contains examples of:
- Children Are Special: Only small children can see Larry (an Imaginary Friend), and Larry mentions that the tetrafuse, a device to rapidly age Boogeymen and make them harmless, is "so simple, a child could understand it. In fact, a grown-up couldn't understand it at all."
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: How Larry is restored to normal, and how all Boogeymen can ultimately be defeated.
- Clear My Name: Frances goes on a quest to prove that she is not to blame for the prank epidemic.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Larry, much to Frances's dismay.
- Comically Missing the Point: Larry, often, unfortunately for Frances.
- Dance Battler: Larry employs some dance steps while dodging the Boogeyman.
- Eldritch Location: The Boogey World, home of the Boogeyman.
- The Fair Folk: Larry is an Imaginary Friend, a being who can only be seen by small children.
- For Happiness: Larry makes friends with every kid he can and believes in being nice to everyone.
- Foreshadowing: Frances says Larry's constant costume changes remind her of Darwin's action figures. Very appropriate, as Larry used to be Darwin's imaginary friend.
- Humanoid Abomination: The Boogeyman
- Humans Are Bastards: This appears to be how all Boogeymen feel, logical when one considers that they are imaginary friends whose child stopped believing in them, literally causing them to mutate into monsters against their will.
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Frances tries this on a newly Boogified Larry; it takes this and Darwin clapping his hands and reaffirming his belief in imaginary friends.
- Let's Get Dangerous: Larry says something similar after he's returned to normal and spots the Boogeyman.
- Meddling Parents: While well-meaning, Frances' parents are far too inclined to not trust that she's being honest with them about not being responsible for the pranks going on and barely speak to her about it. They seem to prefer to spend their time accusing her of being the ringleader of a gang of hypnotizing delinquents.
- Nice Guy: Larry, in a Cloudcuckoolander kind of way.
- Not-So-Imaginary Friend: Larry
- Sanity Slippage: The Boogeymen are created from Imaginary Friends whose children have stopped believing in them before they can find and make friends with a new child.
- Something Only They Would Say: Frances realizes something is up when the boogeyman calls her "Frannie." This was the nickname her old Imaginary Friend Zoe gave her before Frances forced herself to grow up.
- What the Hell, Townspeople?: Many people, including Frances' own parents, immediately suspect that she is behind all of the pranks around town despite 1) extremely circumstantial evidence (only Frances' best friend had any reason to believe she was to blame for the note on the lawn), 2) Frances had always been a model child and student before the prank epidemic.