6.1/10
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21 user 11 critic

Birds of America (2008)

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1:16 | Trailer
A regular guy struggles with a repressive home and professional life, as well as making amends for the trouble his free-spirited brother and sister cause about town.

Director:

Craig Lucas

Writer:

Elyse Friedman
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Matthew Perry ... Morrie
Ben Foster ... Jay
Ginnifer Goodwin ... Ida
Lauren Graham ... Betty Tanager
Zoë Kravitz ... Gillian
Hilary Swank ... Laura
Gary Wilmes ... Paul
Daniel Eric Gold ... Gary
Stacie Theon ... Ellen Thomas
Lindsay Allen Lindsay Allen ... Roller-Blading Girl
Tom Pelphrey ... Hitchhiker
Will Toale Will Toale ... Young Male Cop
Vivien Kells Vivien Kells ... Sleeping Girl (as Vivien Kells O'Brien)
Keith McDermott ... Man in Street
Marisa Zalabak Marisa Zalabak ... Woman in Street
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Storyline

When Morrie was a teenager, his parents died, leaving him a house, an irritable bowel, and siblings Jay and Ida to raise. Jump ahead 20 years: Jay is homeless, fits poorly into society, and was recently injured; Ida is jobless and sleeps with strangers; Morrie is married to the long-suffering Betty who is waiting for Morrie to get tenure before having children. They constantly have to kiss up to their holier-than-thou neighbors, one of whom is Morrie's department head. Morrie brings Jay home to recover, Ida decides to visit, the siblings make the neighbors ill at ease, a strange woman visits, and the cops want to talk to Jay. What about Morrie's irritated bowels? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Some families defy classification

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some sexuality and brief drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 February 2010 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

The Laws of Motion See more »

Filming Locations:

Darien, Connecticut, USA See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$150,278
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Jay: People need to be jolted.
Morrie: No, people need to be comforted, and you don't comfort them by satisfying your own curiosity about breaking down boundaries and rules. Some people really like their rules, they've chosen them, and you don't get to choose what rules other people obey or not; they do.
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Connections

References The Mummy (1932) See more »

Soundtracks

Acoustic
Written by David Gould
Performed by The Inner Banks
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User Reviews

 
Odd Birds. Good Eggs.
26 January 2008 | by wmjahoSee all my reviews

You might be getting a little tired of movies about dysfunctional families. I know I am. I think I've seen at least three at Sundance this year. But Birds of America manages to break the mold and feel fresh and alive from the outset, delivering a warm, funny, zany, tender and compassionate film that left the audience smiling and satisfied.

Morrie (Matthew Perry) is an uptight university professor anxiously seeking tenure, which requires the approval of his department head, who lives next door. Morrie and his wife Betty (Lauren Graham—Gilmore Girls) live in a house he inherited at 18 years old after his mother died and his father committed suicide. As a result, Morrie raised his brother Jay (Ben Foster) and sister Ida (Ginnifer Goodwin), both of which grew into their problems. Ida is substance-abusing and promiscuous, and Jay a deeply gentle and sensitive soul whose actions are almost completely unfettered by advanced thought. They reunite in the family home when Jay gets run over by a car (he was laying in the road) and Morrie, who still feels more parent than brother, asks him to move in for a while. Without asking permission, Jay invites Ida to join them, stressing Morrie and Betty's relationship and jeopardizing his career with their outrageous behavior.

Matthew Perry is surprisingly good in his deadpan portrayal of an overwrought brother who cares deeply for his siblings, often at his own expense. Goodwin is a pleasure as well, as the addictive personality with the carefree spirit. But Ben Foster (3:10 to Yuma) is great, and despite having such a naturally funny role, manages to never play Jay for laughs, creating an endearing and memorable character. Growing up without parents, these three have formed an unbreakable bond, with unconditional love and acceptance, and a tenderness and compassion unlike any I can remember in movies. Elyse Friedman has crafted a remarkable script, and Sundance veteran director Craig Lucas (Secret Lives of Dentists, The Dying Gaul) brings it to life with a funny but light-hearted and gentle touch.


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