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Tim Lippe has no idea what he's in for when he's sent to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to represent his company at an annual insurance convention, where he soon finds himself under the "guidance" of three convention veterans.
A comic tale of three would-be entrepreneurs who set out to invent a rocket belt. The clash of their mismatched personalities soon dissolves the business into a morass of recriminations and retaliations, kidnapping, and murder in this parable of American dreams and delusions. Written by
"Pretty Bird" doesn't have much of a story but it has great characters
"Pretty Bird" is about entrepeneuring a 'rocket belt', which is a real invention. It centers on Curtis Prentiss (Billy Crudup) who at one point in the film says "It's not just a rocket belt, it's an attitude." That says exactly what this film is, it's not about a rocket belt, it's about the attitude of its characters.
Opening and closing with Billy Crudup's Curtis, he brings together Rick (Paul Giamatti) and Kenny (David Hornsby) as partners in his rocket belt innovation company. It's not about what they do, but who they are. They are all deeply troubled men. The characteristics that we see in Crudup's and Giamatti's characters completely drive this film; they are flawed and we can almost put our finger on all of their insecurities and needs but there is more ticking beneath the surface. Without sounding like a love song to Billy Crudup, I have rarely seen a character brought to life the way Curtis was. In one word, phenomenal. In three words, breathtaking, heartbreaking, pioneering.
Unfortunately for all of its brilliant character work, the film stumbled with its story line. At times it was a little slow moving and as it neared the finish line it started meandering in other directions. It does seem pretty disjointed but it also just wanted to build up its characters even more.
Listed as a dark comedy, that is probably accurate. A very intelligent film with its humour, and its many dramatic elements makes it seem dark. Kristen Wiig, as usual for her, comes away with one of the most memorable, funny scenes in the movie.
Its ending can seem unsatisfying, but don't see "Pretty Bird" for its story line, see it for its characters, its smart humour, and Billy Crudup in the role of a lifetime.
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