This movie tries to be a great many things and fails terribly at all of them. A commentary on aging in America? Scratch. A commentary on homelessness? Scratch. A commentary on the artificiality of social milieus and the possibility of transcending them if one can just give up attachment or recognition of them? Scratch.
Arthur makes repeated references to WWII, leading one to believe that he was there - except that he was born in 1933, and I doubt he was there at the age of 11. A man who appears to have lived a normal life by the world's standards - albeit one lined with tragedy - transitions to being the homeless guardian and friend of a duck with little or no apparent angst, bitterness, or even self-awareness.
The story relies on trite stereotypes but doesn't even bother to do anything with them. There are plenty of moments where it's clear we're supposed to just be gasping with sudden insight and appreciation - the film does everything except flash a blinking "GASP APPRECIATIVELY!" or "CHUCKLE SYMPATHETICALLY" sign in the corner of the screen. I sort of wish it had - it would have provided something better to watch. This film has no point, no resolution, and no characters that we can truly empathize or connect with in any way.
Except perhaps the duck. And I felt *bad* for him that he didn't have a better agent.
I think the main issue was that I should have felt sorry for an old man who was suddenly homeless and whose family had all died. But I didn't. And that is the fault of the movie, not me. Even bad movies are able to pull at the heart strings. In fact, many use cheap tricks to do just that because they've got absolutely nothing else to offer. This movie didn't even do that.
So, a movie that had potential to be touching and full of adventure was only midly entertaining with, what seemed like, a lot of dead air. Disappointing indeed.
anyways, I'm kind of a sucker for animals in movies, and Joe was cool ass duck.