Reviewed by: W.J. Kimble
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