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Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Roberts|
|Produced by||Mark Gordon
Allyson Lyon Segan
|Written by||Laurie Craig|
|Narrated by||Jay Mohr|
|Music by||John Debney|
|Edited by||Bruce Cannon|
|Distributed by||DreamWorks Pictures|
|Running time||91 minutes|
Paulie is a 1998 film about a disobedient bird named Paulie, starring Tony Shalhoub, Gena Rowlands, Hallie Eisenberg, and Jay Mohr. Mohr performs the voice of Paulie and plays a minor on-screen character.
Misha Belenkoff (Tony Shalhoub), a Russian immigrant and former teacher of literature, is living in America and working as a janitor at an animal testing lab. There he encounters Paulie and is astonished when he speaks to him in perfect English. He does not talk when Misha brings witnesses.
Misha persuades Paulie to tell his story with pieces of mango after reading about the diet of conures. He tells Misha about his real owner, a little girl named Marie (Hallie Eisenberg) who was a stutterer. He is shown in flashback, first as a baby bird. As Marie learns to speak, so does he, and he learns well, understanding the meaning of words and learning to construct complex sentences. Soon Marie's father, Warren (Matt Craven), who's a soldier, returns home from Vietnam. However, he does not like Paulie and believes he's not helping her to speak. It's believed he may resent Paulie for his closeness to her instead of him and that he was able to help her speak when none of his methods worked.
It becomes very obvious that he wants Marie to forget Paulie when he brings her a cat. It's also obvious that the cat and Paulie don't get along either, mainly because he's afraid of it. It tries a few times to attack him. However, again Warren blames him for Marie's speaking problems and believes she's in a fantasy about him speaking. Eventually after a dramatic event in which she falls off the roof in an attempt to teach him to fly, he convinces her mother, Lila (Laura Harrington), to send him away.
Paulie is passed from one owner to another, eventually ending up in a pawn shop, where he spends his time insulting the customers, until he is purchased by a widowed artist named Ivy (Gena Rowlands). She befriends him and agrees to take him to find Marie, who has moved across the country to Los Angeles. Ivy loses her sight and Paulie decides to stay and take care of her, but this is cut short when she dies one day and is taken away while he, having finally learned to fly, continues his journey.
In East Los Angeles, Paulie joins a group of performing conures owned by Ignacio (Cheech Marin), but is kidnapped by Benny (Jay Mohr) and begins a life of crime. In a botched jewel theft, Paulie flies down through the chimney of a house, but is trapped inside and abandoned.
Paulie is then brought to the institute, his current home, where employees and scientists are stunned by his intelligence. They put him through tests and promise that he will be reunited with Marie. When he discovers that they lied to him, he refuses to cooperate with any more tests. His wings are clipped, and he is imprisoned in the basement.
Moved by Paulie's story, Misha decides to give up his menial job to release Paulie and take him to Marie. After escaping from the institute and taking a bus to her address, they find her, now full grown and a beautiful young woman (Trini Alvarado) and unrecognizable to him. After a moment of confusion, they are happily reunited when she sings his favorite song and he remembers her, flying with joy. The film ends with her and Misha going into her house with Paulie to catch up.
- Jay Mohr as the voice of Paulie, a blue-crowned conure, and Benny
- Tony Shalhoub as Misha, a recent US immigrant from East Europe
- Gena Rowlands as Ivy, a widowed artist
- Hallie Eisenberg as Marie Alweather, a young girl who's a stutterer
- Cheech Marin as Ignacio, an entertainer
- Bruce Davison as Dr. Reingold, a biological research scientist
- Trini Alvarado as Adult Marie
- Buddy Hackett as Artie, owner of a pawn shop
- Matt Craven as Warren Alweather
- Bill Cobbs as Virgil
- Tia Texada as Ruby and the voice of Lupe, a Jandaya parakeet
- Laura Harrington as Lila Alweather
- Jerry Winsett as Mr. Tauper
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The film's production budget was 23 million US dollars.
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Paulie was well received. As of August 2014, the movie has scored a 62% or 6.2/10 rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
It was distributed in 24 countries and 10 different languages between 1998 and 1999.
Awards and nominations
|ALMA Award||Outstanding Actor in a Feature Film - Cheech Marin||Nomination|
|ALMA Award||Outstanding Actress in a Feature Film - Trini Alvarado||Nomination|
|BAFTA Children's Award||Best Children's Feature Film||Won|
|Bronze Gryphon||Early Screens - John Roberts||Won|
|Young Artist Award||Best family feature - Comedy||Nomination|
|Young Artist Award||Best performance in a feature film - Young Actress aged ten or under - Hallie Kate Eisenberg||Nomination|
|Young Artist Award||Best performance by a young actress in a comedy film - Hallie Kate Eisenberg||Nomination|
- "PAULIE". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2009-04-11.
- "Angels Stays Aloft in Top Spot". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-07-08.