Synopsis by Bhob Stewart
In the Babe tradition of talking animatronic animals, this comedy adventure gets underway when animal-research-lab janitor Misha (Tony Shalhoub) expresses concern for a Blue-crown Conure parrot named Paulie (voice of Jay Mohr) caged in a dank basement. Misha settles back as Paulie tells his life story, seen in flashback: When Paulie was owned by little Marie (Hallie Kate Eisenberg), the parrot helped the little girl get rid of her stutter. After Marie tried to teach Paulie how to fly, he wound up in a pawnshop owned by Artie (Buddy Hackett), where he got an education in one-liners. Paulie and Ivy (Gena Rowlands) learn Marie's family is in LA, so Ivy agrees to drive Paulie cross-country in her RV. However, Marie goes blind and dies. Paulie is forced to fly to LA, where small-time entrepreneur Ignacio (Cheech Marin), with an eye for talent, talons and tacos, puts Paulie to work as a dancer at his taco-stand, where Paulie gets a birds-eye view of a female parrot with pretty plumage. Unfortunately, researcher Dr. Reingold (Bruce Davison), convinced Paulie can bring him academic recognition, steps in with a false promise to link the parrot up with Marie. Betrayed, Paulie refuses to speak anything other than the standard "want-a-cracker" lines, resulting in solitary confinement. Misha, who knows why the caged bird talks, hopes to free Paulie for an eventual reunion with Marie. Animal stunt coordinator Boone Narr and Stan Winston animatronics brought Paulie to life. For another fine-feathered film, see Dean Riesner's Bill and Coo (1947); the film's all-bird cast (dressed in human clothing) brought a "Special Award" for producer Ken Murray during the 1948 Oscar ceremony.
cross-country, janitor, parrot, pawnshop, road-trip, RV (Recreational Vehicle), talking-animal
High Production Values