Within about two minutes of starting this film, I had my answer. PRETTY BIRD is yet another, wannabe quirky indie- similar to the recent SAINT JOHN OF LAS VEGAS. It boasts a great cast, and fine production values, but lacks two things. One- it has no heart, and two- it’s not funny.
Billy Crudup, a supremely talented actor who’s strangely never really broken through as a leading man, stars in the kind of role that would have been a fine fit for someone like Sam Rockwell, but on Crudup fits like a four fingered glove. Crudup’s not a comedian, so he doesn’t come across as funny. His manipulative character, who’s supposed to be a lovable misfit, just comes off as a manipulative asshole, and the “quirky” idea of making a rocket belt gets old FAST.
Giamatti’s a bit better as the grumpy rocket scientist, but it’s nothing you haven’t seen him do before. Take his character from SIDEWAYS and make him a rocket scientist, and this is what you get. As for the third billed Kristen Wiig- she’s barely in the film, and never really gets a chance to shine, which is a shame. You’d think in a comedy, they’d give the one cast member who actually knows comedy a chance to be funny, right?