Movie Review

Paulie

MPAA Rating: PG for brief mild language

Reviewed by: W.J. Kimble
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Family
Genre:
Comedy
Length:
91 min.
PG

Starring: Gena Rowlands, Tony Shalhoub, Cheech Marin, Bruce Davison, Jay Mohr / Director: John Roberts / Released by: DreamWorks

Scene from Paulie, Copyrighted, DreamWorks Pictures.

Disney, move over, there’s a new kid on the block and he’s after your title as the company families can depend on. DreamWorks has once again produced a film that is wholesome, delightful and worth your money. In “Paulie”, DreamWorks has put together a cast of stars that make you believe that even God’s creatures can teach us that life, with all its ups-and-downs, is still worth living and that faith is the greatest gift a man could ever have. In fact, Misha, (Tony Shalhoub, “Primary Colors”) the movies main character, actually says that what we need is faith and that faith will see us through.

I know, I know, I can almost hear it now. He’s talking about faith in one another and not in God. you’re right; but if you, the parent, take time to tell your kids that we need to have faith in God, all will be well. Please do not miss this opportunity, should you go and see the movie.

Paulie begins with a sympathetic, Russian expatriate by the name of Misha, who recently obtained a job as a janitor for an animal-research laboratory. Upon discovery of a trained Blue-crown Conure, Paulie, that has the ability to hold an intelligent conversation, Misha wins over the trust of Paulie and a wonderful relationship is begun. Misha soon learns the terrible plight of this amazing bird; which began when Paulie was presented to a stuttering child, Marie Allweather (Hallie Kate Eisenberg) as a gift from her father. Paulie, who adores the child, learns to speak while attempting to help Marie learn how to talk without stuttering. However, Paulie is sold and the Allweather’s move and Paulie swears he will find Marie someday.

Paulie finds himself in a pawnshop; where he learns to sing, joke and insult others, with the help of Artie (Buddy Hackett), the rude, crude and obnoxious owner. He’s soon sold to a lonely, elderly lady in need of a friend. Paulie tells Ivy (Gena Rowlands, “She’s So Lovely”), “You miss Earl [her deceased husband] just like I miss Marie”; and the two of them begin a long trek to find Marie. Along the way, Ivy dies and Paulie makes a profound statement, “It seems the things you love the most, leave you behind.” Every child in the theater got the message; and my wife cried.

Paulie soon finds himself singing and dancing in a mariachi band, along with three other parrots named Lupe, Pepe and Paco, who are lead by Ignacio (Cheech Marin, TV’s “Nash Bridges”). Once again, Paulie is left alone after another mishap and finds himself in the hands of a con-artist, known as Benny (Jay Mohr, the evil agent of “Jerry Maguire”). Finally with the help of Misha, Paulie is reunited with Marie.

Paulie, the lonely parrot, helps a lonely child find hope. Ivy teaches Paulie manners and Benny helps him learn morals (by teaching him to live a life of crime, Paulie finally comes to the conclusion that this is wrong and not to be done anymore). Misha rescues Paulie from the awful laboratory and Paulie helps him find a new friend. It is a movie about loyalty, honor, companionship and overcoming fear. You and your family will enjoy this lovely movie. While there is mild profanity, Paulie will warm your heart, as everyone learns that love conquers all.

Year of Release—1998

Viewer Comments
…Yes, the vulgarities could have been left out, but to say that someone wouldn’t want to take their children to see it insures that some children won’t get to see this wonderful film, Paulie. Sift through the “weevils in the flour,” and don’t throw a whole bunch of good flour away (in other words, don’t discard a movie that has only some minor problems).
—Jerome Bush, age 46
offensive cursing
We took our two children to see the film, although the storyline was great I was highly offended that the pawn shop owner (Buddy Hacket) had to mis-use our gods name with damn after it! Nothing makes me more mad when they put that in a movie.
—Sherri, age 30
On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give “Paulie” an 8½. I saw this yesterday at a theater loaded with youngsters who were spellbound. I’m 16, and found the movie very funny and very sad. The last time I cried in a movie was 1994’s “Black Beauty,” which is ironically similar (separated from owner, goes all over the globe, reunited with owner). Even the shady characters in this movie have hearts. Think about it: Benny (who’s played by Jay Mohr, the guy who also voices Paulie) was a crook but even he was afraid for Paulie’s safety. If you want to see a family film that Disney would NEVER make (it’s not based on a previous movie, cartoon or TV show and doesn’t have sexual innuendoes and vulgarity running rampant), “Paulie” is JUST THE TICKET. Tony Shalhoub deserves an Oscar nomination.
—Zack, age 16
Paulie is definitely a good family film. O.K., there was some brief offensive language, but this was minimal in comparison to other PG films. Despite the brief offensive language, I was impressed by the decency of this film and was happy to be sharing this “wholesome” viewing experience with my 10-year-old daughter. I found Paulie to be a positive film that contained several good moral lessons regarding relationships and the challenges that can occur in life. The bird’s, Paulie, verbal interaction between other characters was often very touching, if not profound, and I was moved by the “sweetness” of this film. Watching Paulie was a heart-warming experience. I will definitely buy this movie for my daughter when it comes out on video.
—Jennifer McGill, age 34
I think that Paulie is a great movie. There are some words that could have been taken out, but the story line and the talent in the bird are great. I would recomment it.
—Danae McGill, age 10
It’s really a rather good movie for the most part and it has, of course, a happy ending. It held my interest as well as the children. I was quite discouraged though when a woman uses the word friggin, plus Paulie says “up yours” three repeated times and there is one other instance of a situation that didn’t need to be in there. The sad part of the language is—when Paulie does say “up yours” all the children laugh!! I have mixed feelings on whether or not I’d let my child see the movie. For the most part it is a good, enjoyable and entertaining movie except for the 3 instances. Although there is no actual profanity—what is said in the movie isn’t something children of today haven’t heard and I’d say the movie does have redeeming qualities to it. There are some very touching scenes of Paulie caring for others and others treating him well.
—Joyce Books
…I love to leave a movie feeling terrific and triumphal. Paulie is just such a movie. I was concerned about the movie in the beginning when they immediately used God’s name in vain twice. I only detected it one other time in the film. And, I cringed again when, later in the movie, two cuss words were uttered. There were no instances of sex, nudity, or violence. Paulie is taught to help one of his “human” friends steal, however, he later shares that his friend forgot to teach him something important about stealing—that it is wrong. There is also a scene that takes place in an outdoors restaurant where all the adults seem to be drinking beer. I considered these instances very “mild” in comparison to most films today. This movie left me wondering how they were able to teach this bird to “act.” His expressions and movements were just incredible. Incredible, also, were the glimpses of God’s majesty displayed through the breath-taking scenery. This film captures the diversity of America and its people. My nephew and I left the theater shouting “Hooray!” This is one you really do not want to miss.
—Leigh Evans, age 28