6.5/10
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36 user 11 critic

Rare Birds (2001)

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A down-and-out restaurateur and his neighbor hatch a plan to lure luminaries to their small Newfoundland town.

Director:

Sturla Gunnarsson

Writers:

Edward Riche (novel), Edward Riche (screenplay)
6 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Director: Tonie Marshall
Stars: Catherine Deneuve, William Hurt, Bernard Le Coq
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
William Hurt ... Dave
Andy Jones Andy Jones ... Phonce
Molly Parker ... Alice
Vicky Hynes Vicky Hynes ... Deb
Greg Malone Greg Malone ... Buster Bartlett
Michael Chiasson Michael Chiasson ... Dr. Jack Tomlinson
Barry Newhook Barry Newhook ... Caller #1 / Hostage
Laura Tobin Laura Tobin ... Girl #1
Maggie Meyer Maggie Meyer ... Girl #2
Frankie O'Neill Frankie O'Neill ... Brit Woman
Lawrence Barry ... Hooligan
Leah Lewis Leah Lewis ... Bette
Todd Perrin Todd Perrin ... Cook
Deidre Gillard-Rowlings ... Waitress
Matthew Clarke Matthew Clarke ... Bartender
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Storyline

Dave is down. His wife lives in Washington, D.C.; his restaurant, the Auk, in an out-of-the-way Newfoundland inlet, is a bust; a drink is rarely out of reach. An odd-duck of a neighbor, Phonce, who has found ten kilos of cocaine and wants Dave's help selling it, contrives to keep Dave in town by faking and reporting the sighting of a rare bird. Soon birders descend from everywhere, and the restaurant is a success. Dave is snorting the cocaine and falling for a young visitor who helps him out at the Auk, Phonce is launching his recreational submarine, and various men who don't look like birders are poking about. When the chickens come home to roost, will Dave and Phonse have a Plan B? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Fortune can make a man do some pretty fowl things.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and drug use | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Pope Productions

Country:

Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 July 2003 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

De drôles d'oiseaux See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Filmed in 30 days, except for the final shot, which was delayed for seven months. An unexpected early snowfall forced the shot (of a car on a road near the sea) to be postponed until the snow melted the following May. See more »

Goofs

Level of wine glass when Dave and Phonse are eating in the kitchen. See more »

Quotes

Phonce: There's two kinds of people in the world: those whose arse holes seize up during a crisis and those who shit themselves. Winston Churchill, during the blitz for instance - his sphincter locked with bulldog determination. They say he never shit during the entire Battle of Britain.
See more »

Soundtracks

Dirty Old Town
Written by Ewan MacColl
Performed by The Pogues
Courtesy of Warner Music Canada Ltd.
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User Reviews

 
Chuckle and Quack
21 May 2009 | by Samiam3See all my reviews

Rare Birds is indeed a rare find, an original and quirky little comedy, but one that is good when it could have been great. With one step in the wrong direction, Rare Birds takes a bit of a fall from grace, but not too far at least. It remains entertaining, in a way that few comedies are.

Dave runs a small hotel and restaurant in coastal Newfoundland, but business is poor, and he is tempted to close, until his friend Phonce comes up with the idea of faking the sighting of a rare bird on the water that his hotel overlooks (a species of duck thought to be extinct). Suddenly he has a whole army of nutty birdwatchers flocking to his corner of the island. A fun start to the movie, but obviously not fun enough.

For some reason the filmmakers are so desperate to please us that they turn Rare Birds away from charm and towards slapstick. There are a couple of awkward subplots, one involving a mini sub that Phonce has created in his garage and another which involves some military technology that Phonce has stolen which leads to him and Dave taking a secret agent hostage. It all builds up to such absurdity that it literally ends in a bang.

The cast is a strange but charming bunch. Both William Hurt and Molly Parker are likable on screen, but it is Phonce who steals the movie. Everything comedic about Rare Birds revolves around him and the things he does.

Even if the movie looses some of its potential to somewhat banal direction, I think it's pretty hard not to like Rare Birds even a little bit.


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