Rare Birds (2001)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Iceland-born Canadian filmmaker Sturla Gunnarsson spins this offbeat comedy about fine food and feathered friends. The owner of a failing gourmet eatery in a small Newfoundland town, Dave Purcell (William Hurt) is about to throw in the towel. As he raids his wine cellar and nurses his sorrows, his wacky friend Alphonse Murphy (Andy Jones) hatches a scheme to save the restaurant. They announce a faked sighting of a rare bird in the restaurant's vicinity, and soon bird watchers and even celebrities are pouring into the establishment. Dave's restaurant is so busy, in fact, that he hires Alphonse's shapely sister-in-law, Alice (Molly Parker), and in less time than it takes to burn a soufflé, romantic sparks are flying between the two. Unfortunately, Alphonse's schemes aren't limited to ornithological fraud. He has some hackneyed plan involving a submarine and a pile of cocaine that could bring down all that Dave has built. This film was screened at the 2001 Toronto Film Festival.
R (drug Content and Language)
Art House & International , Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Lions Gate Films

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Andy Jones
as Alphonse
Greg Malone
as Buster
Michael Chaisson
as Dr. Tomlinson
Barry Newhook
as Caller No. 1
Laura Tobin
as Girl No. 1
Maggie Meyer
as Girl No. 2
Frankie O'Neil
as Brit Woman
Leah Lewis
as Bette
Lawrence Barry
as Hooligan
Mark Critch
as Dougie
George Jonas
as Dr. Hans Spiedal
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Critic Reviews for Rare Birds

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (4)

Whimsical and touching.

Full Review… | October 3, 2003
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Rendered bland and frustrating by its endless attempts to make the odd odder.

Full Review… | October 2, 2003
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

The movie keeps coming back to the achingly unfunny Phonce and his several silly subplots.

Full Review… | October 4, 2002
Boston Globe
Top Critic

With Rare Birds, as with The Shipping News before it, an attempt is made to transplant a Hollywood star into Newfoundland's wild soil -- and The Rock once again resists the intrusion.

Full Review… | March 1, 2002
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Even if you don't know a wren from a grackle, there are pleasures here.

May 23, 2003
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Has all the right elements but completely fails to gel together.

Full Review… | October 20, 2002
Boxoffice Magazine

Audience Reviews for Rare Birds

Cute and charming film with quirky characters and small-town magic. As usual, the introduction of drugs to the story is unnecessary and hurts the movie.

Mike Bierman
Mike Bierman

Cute little film set in a sleepy Newfoundland town that is set upon by outsiders all in searchof an elusive bird. Touching with good character interaction.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

Shot in beautiful Newfoundland by Icelandic director Sturla Gunnarsson. Based on the novel by Canadian Edward Riche, who also wrote the screenplay. Stars Molly Parker, a wonderful Canadian actress.

Laura Cameron
Laura Cameron

Super Reviewer

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