FILM REVIEW: 'Love Birds'
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Sat, 19 Feb 2011
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Geek factor pressed into service..
> Love Birds
4 stars (out of 5)
Director: Paul Murphy
Cast: Rhys Darby, Sally Hawkins, Bryan Brown, Emily Barclay, Craig Hall, Faye Smythe, Dave Fane, Wesley Dowdell
Jaunty comedies are not in New Zealand cinema's comfort zone. We far prefer brooding introspection to verbal dexterity, so anyone approaching Love Birds (Hoyts and Rialto) has a right to feel apprehensive.
Comedian Rhys Darby created an iconic character as Murray in Flight of the Conchords but, since we have been deluged with him plugging a phone network, there is a sense he is overexposed.
As Doug, he has to be halfway believable as a romantic lead and, to be honest, that is about as far as he goes. Instead, the film turns the geek factor to its advantage.
Leading lady Holly (Sally Hawkins) says at one point "You know you're a bit of a dick?" to which he nods agreement and you realise you are not supposed to wish your man was more like Doug. Instead, you are supposed to think "Yes, my guy is a bit of a dick and I am all right with it." Which is very Kiwi.
Doug starts off being dumped for being boring, but he cannot see what is so wrong with his cosy routines that put friends and family before ambition.
Being forced to care for an injured paradise duck he calls Pierre puts him in the path of love-averse avian expert Holly. Feathers fly as they find that second-best love just might be lasting love.
Best thing: The duck is an absolute natural. The animal wranglers can feel very proud.
Worst thing: For all its charm there is something tentative about this - as if everyone is so afraid of stuffing it up that they cannot relax.
See it with: A desire to see the first big-screen depiction of the Kiwi sensitive new age guy. Makes a change from all those man-alone types.
- Christine Powley
Rhys Darby takes on new, feathery role
Wed, 09 Feb 2011 6:35p.m.
By Kate Rodger
Click here to watch the interview with Rhys Darby and Paul Murphy
You might recognise the face, but Murray has taken flight from the conchords and is now mixing it with birds of a different feather, Love Birds.
Love Birds is a romantic comedy from the same filmmakers behind sleeper hit Second Hand Wedding, and director Paul Murphy had his eye on Rhys Darby for his new lead.
“We couldn’t find anyone else, he was outside waving. Seriously, we wanted someone kiwi, funny, good looking, we could go past Rhys really. For a phenomenal fee he agreed to join us,” Murphy says.
Darby plays Doug, your average kiwi bloke who struggles to find the right bird. When one quite literally crash-lands on his roof, his life takes an unpredictable turn.
Darby has some mighty fine company onscreen. British actress Sally Hawkins is his love interest, well one of them, and Aussie Bryan Brown's no stranger to Kiwi films.
While Love Birds certainly has its comedy, this role is somewhat of a more serious departure for Darby from his funnyman roots.
“I guess I wanted to challenge myself. My wife said ‘you’ve been my leading man, why don’t u prove you're capable of it, and you're not just a dick,’ that’s kinda sweet and sour really, I'm more than a dick,” he says.
But don’t be too worried, Darby's not getting too serious.
Love Birds has its premiere in Auckland tonight, opening for the rest of country on March 24th.
Great H wrote: But most of my affection was definitely reserved for the duck. Cuuute!
Oh! I REALLY liked that in the driving scenes they didn't swap everything over to drive on the right hand side (so as not to alienate the US market), as normally happens in our flicks. Keeping it Kiwi!
A friend of mine told me Love Birds has sold to a bunch of countries already (I don't know where she read that tho), so keep a look out if you want a bit of a giggle!
edit: Christine Powley's review above is spot-on, I think...
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