THERE ARE INFINITELY BETTER WAYS TO SPEND TIME THAN BY WATCHING THIS.
Designed as a comedic animal rights drama, this low budget production fails to deliver with any of its purposes, cumbered as it is by torpid direction and wildly uneven acting, in addition to its script that runs short of petrol notwithstanding good intentions, wasting contributions from some talented performers and technicians as it wobbles to its low-heat conclusion. Troubled teenaged Francis Phillips (Christopher Pettiet), living only with his mother (Cindy Pickett) since his father abandoned the family, is assigned for remediation by a juvenile court judge, following his ongoing lapse into truancy and other misconduct, to an animal shelter managed by Ray Whitney ( Wayne Rogers) who befriends the boy although unable to convince Francis that euthanasia is a pragmatic solution for abandoned animals not saved through a process of adoption. The storyline centers about a parrot owned by the youth's high school principal (Concetta Tomei) who is convinced that Francis stole her pet bird as well as a valuable ring, and there are several subplots that are underdeveloped, hindered by flawed continuity and unclear character motivation, all scored by the director's inability to move along interior business of the scenario. Shot in Salt Lake City and environs, many of the film's cast and crew are locals, but it is Cindy Pickett, ever a resourceful performer, who easily garners the acting laurels, with Pettiet having little range, Rogers unable to create his part and Tomei, in a double role, hammy and misdirected in each, while a hurried ending is so egregiously filled with cliche that a viewer is stupefied by a work that has turned into a tract.
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