It's Not Rocket Science
Never has nothingness been so compelling, that is the strange feeling I got whilst watching the way out of the box "Pretty Bird". This is a movie which just seems a mess with a thin storyline which gets mangled in the editing and relies on extreme characters to keep you watching. Yet you do keep on watching partly because of a cast which includes Paul Giamatti but also out of curiosity, not as to how the story ends but what weirdness will come before the credits roll and they do rather abruptly.
Curtis Prentiss (Billy Crudup - The Good Shepherd) is a motivated man with a dream, he plans to start a company manufacturing rocket belts and he ropes in his wealthy best friend Kenny (David Hornsby) to stump up some initial investment. He also ropes in unemployed rocket engineer Rick Honeycutt (Paul Giamatti - Fred Claus) to build a rocket belt. But these trio are such a diverse extreme bunch that it is only a matter of time till things blow up as issues of trust present themselves.
For the first half "Pretty Bird" is mildly entertaining, very quirky, very minimal but mostly mildly entertaining. From first meeting the confident Curtis through to the angry Rick there are plenty of out of the box laughs. And watching Curtis talk Rick into being their engineer in his own unique and oddball way is amusing. Even watching Rick build the rocket belt is kind of entertaining as Curtis does a series of presentations trying to gain investment.
But then it all goes wrong as "Pretty Bird" becomes disjointed and strange. It all starts with Rick having created the rocket belt and we witness them testing it with a specialist pilot. It is a weak scene where we have this 4th person who flies the rocket belt and then disappears, it is a scene which also throws up some other unanswered questions. And then after this it all becomes Rick not trusting Curtis and Curtis not trusting Rick, two polar personalities all mangled up by some off beat editing.
It does become almost a lot of nothingness with the story going nowhere yet you still want to find out how this all ends it is that quirky. How it ends well for a movie which ends up quirky, disjointed and very strange the abruptness of it all is sort of fitting but also very annoying. Trust me you will probably feel quite frustrated when the movie is over.
The truth is that what keeps you watching "Pretty Bird" is the performances from two people Paul Giamatti as Rick and Billy Crudup as Curtis. On one hand we have the almost sociopathic Rick who is prone to violent outbursts and then there is Curtis who you could say that through all the motivational books he reads has convinced himself he has charisma and a gift of selling. Crudup and Giamatti plays these as two extreme characters that you just want to know what happens to them and that is the real reason why you watch till then end.
What this all boils down to is that "Pretty Bird" is a strange movie which to be honest doesn't work; it is too offbeat and out of the box for its own good. But thanks to the performances of Paul Giamatti and Billy Crudup you keep on watching right up until the fitting but annoying end.