What partly hurts Bird Co. Media is its insistence to make people believe it’s a documentary. Actions in the movie may have been inspired by real life events, but once you see how the film is formatted, you’ll have all the reason to doubt. For instance, cameras follow our leads and then freely cut around them – including on the other sides of doors. Those are some nimble cameramen.
Bird Co. Media is another one of those mockumentaries where a film crew chronicles the adventures of the film’s protagonists. In this case, Brad Miller and Kabir Ali travel to India to build their advertising company where the duo attach banners to birds hoping businesses will take flight in more than one way. According to the film’s website, Brad and Kabir play “themselves”. Uh huh.
Brad and Kabir have the presentation and attitudes of professionals. The two have been long-time pals and budding entrepreneurs, and have unlimited amounts of eagerness and courage. It’s a grind to watch two levelheaded guys fuel such an inane idea. They have their plans and proposals, yet they’re headed towards the same dead end. Shaukat (Kabir’s father who is also playing “himself”. Uh huh.) has negative feelings towards the iffy business and calls it “stupid” in one-on-one interviews. This is why Shaukat gets the film’s biggest laughs.
It may be to your surprise to know that the birds actually do fly while tied to banners. We see these advertising machines (shabbily animated, mind you) dart across the sky as pedestrians look up at them in awe. However, no matter how many shots there are of on-the-job birds flying and no matter how many demonstrations Brad can show us, it’s very hard to fathom a plan like this working out. I can’t speak for all audiences, but my imagination can’t stretch that far in a movie that wants me to take everything seriously.
The problem I have with Bird Co. Media is that it doesn’t have that prevalent push it needs to be taken as satire. It’s clear to see director Jason Bourque wants areas of his movie to mimic real issues such as animal testing and controversial advertising, but those touches should subtly line the writing. They shouldn’t be compared out loud and bluntly by Kabir.
Bourque, however, is more interested in making a movie that’ll entertain his audience. If that means passing up opportunities to make a relevant statement about something, he unfortunately will do so. In order for him to pull this off though, his film needs to be strongly acted and it needs to respect mockumentary filmmaking. But, Bird Co. Media is all too on the nose with its delivery.
The film isn’t an overall loss though. Brad and Kabir have chemistry and a plausible business relationship. We can see why Brad gets upset when Kabir hires a girl he met the night before at a bar, and how romance interferes with the company mindset. Scenes featuring an afflicted Brad iChatting with his heartsick long distance girlfriend are also effective. There are even some amusing moments sprinkled here and there. Brad explaining a routine chant to his fellow employees always remained a highlight.
Bourque’s Bird Co. Media may end up not being all that bad, but it’s under par in just about every category imaginable.
Bird Co. Media opens across Canada on Friday, July 18 in the following theatres:
Landmark Theater Guildford Surrey – British Columbia
Landmark Theater Encore Abbotsford – British Columbia
Landmark Theater Country Hills – Calgary, Alberta
Landmark Theater Clareview – Edmonton, Alberta
Landmark Theater Square One – Mississauga, Ontario
Landmark Theater – Whitby, Ontario
Landmark Theater – Kanata, Ontario
Big Picture Cinema – Toronto, Ontario