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Paulie

Starring Tony Shalhoub and Jay Mohr;
Gena Rowlands and Cheech Marin
Written by Laurie Craig
Directed by John Roberts
Website: www.freezone.com/paulie/

IN SHORT:  Strictly for the l'il kidlets.

If you've seen it, Paulie has got a great TV commercial which promises what seems to be a laugh a minute spectacular, which is what this flick would be if it lasted a mere ninety seconds instead of ninety minutes.

For the parents who will have to explain concepts like the passage of time to their littlest kidlets, Paulie will be a soporific experience. The gags on TV are the sum total of the gags in the movie, and they're paced better, too. What you see in the ad is an insult spewing parrot. What you get in the long run is 90 minutes of wasted time.

Paulie's story is told in flashback to Misha (Tony Shalhoub), a sympathetic Russian immigrant who finds the caged, wing-clipped and shackled bird in the basement of a research laboratory. The bird pines for Marie (Hallie Kate Eisenberg), the stuttering little girl that he was given to. Story goes that Marie's dad gave the bird the bird and dispatched said ball of feathers to a pawn shop in the Big City, there to insult the customers of shop owner Buddy Hackett. Paulie also catches the eye of a grifter/con named Benny (Jay Mohr, who also voices the bird), who will reappear later in the story.

From this point on, the film tanks as Paulie recounts his adventures with various owners: the widowed Ivy (Gena Rowlands), whom he convinces to drive him cross country to find Marie; Ignacio (Cheech Marin), who turns Paulie into an entertainer at a roadside food stand in East LA and the returned-with-moustache Benny, who turns Paulie into a petty thief.

Problem is, there is little wonder or fun or thrills in the movie. Sure, it yanks the inevitable, sentimental chain when Paulie finally finds Marie, but only the littlest of kids will care.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Paulie, he would have paid . . .

$2.00

Little kids will have a fine time. Paulie has got the good gags spaced out enough that you'll not nod off, but it ain't much for us grownups.


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