Posted: 07/06/2010


Pretty Bird


by Laura Tucker

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The major appeal of Pretty Bird is by far the stars, mostly Paul Giamatti and Kristen Wiig, but certainly Billy Crudup and David Hornsby to a slightly lesser extent. With Giamatti I found exactly what I was looking for, but today’s It Girl, Wiig, seemed mostly underused. Her storyline just seemed to be added in at the last minute or something. It just didn’t have the right flow with the rest of the film.

Crudup stars as Curtis Prentiss, who it’s never fully explained, but seems to be the guy that’s always looking for the next big thing. He thinks he finds it in a personal rocket belt, like the one used in an early James Bond film. The thing is, he needs two things to see this through, money and a rocket scientist. He gets the money from his old friend, Kenny (Hornsby), who, by the way, employs Mandy (Wiig) in his mattress store, and that’s all we really see of her for awhile.

Curtis has no friends who are rocket scientists, so he has to make friends with one. He finds who he deems as the perfect choice, Rick Honeycutt (Giamatti), perfect because he doesn’t have a job. Rick also happens to be what we picture as the perfect scientist … mad. I don’t mean “angry” mad, but “nuts” mad, and it doesn’t seem to be crazy like a fox, either.

These three men enter into an unlikely partnership, intent on getting the rocket belt on the market, all of them doing their own responsibility for the team, Kenny supplying the money, Rick the science and actual building of the prototype, and Curtis beating the pavement looking for investors. Three things seem to keep them from accomplishing their dream, Kenny runs out of money, Curtis can’t find investors, and Rick is a marvelous scientist but is an even better paranoid individual.

Rick couldn’t have been played by anyone other than Giamatti. He takes that crazy, paranoid persona to an all new level. In a way it reminds me a lot of the character he played in the little-known Duets. He stole that movie away from Huey Lewis and Gwyneth Paltrow and found such an unlikely partnership with Andrew Braugher. I found the same here. He stole the movie away from the others. It was hard not to focus on him and his angry paranoia.

Wiig could have been a perfect foil for Giamatti, throwing in a little honestly in there, but she was only in a few scenes that basically meant nothing by the end of the film. If you watch the film, don’t watch it expecting to see another Wiig masterpiece. Watch it to see Giamatti do it one more time.

Pretty Bird is available now on DVD.

Laura Tucker is the webmaster of Reality Shack and its accompanying Reality Shack Blog, provides reviews at Viewpoints, and provides entertainment news pieces at Gather. She is also an Instructor and 2nd dan black belt in tae kwon do with South Elgin Martial Arts. Laura can be reached at

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