To call this the best parrot film ever is to damn with faint praise; neither Rowlands nor Davison is so washed-up that they must play opposite a parrot, and both have attributed their presence to the excellent script. We first meet Paulie the parrot in the basement of an experimental centre. How did he wind up there, asks the cleaner, Misha (Shalhoub). It's a long story, replies Paulie. 'I am Russian. We love long stories,' says Misha. Fledgling Paulie was given as a present to little Marie (Eisenberg) to help her over her stutter, and in the process not only became preternaturally verbal and literate, but also evolved beyond mere mimicry. He is parted from her and spends the rest of the film trying to find her again, but it's the digressive meetings that register. There's none of the usual chase-and-destruction thought indispensable to tots, and everybody's given time to develop. Jolly good.
Cast and crew
Buddy Hackett Gena Rowlands Bruce Davison Trini Alvarado Jay Mohr Cheech Marin Hallie Kate Eisenberg Tony Shalhoub