Duck hosts a promising premise and some pretty interesting dialogue in spurts. In fact, the opening act caringly brings us into a sweet story about a lonely man and a lonely duck. The two endear each other as the filmmakers endear audiences to this tale.
But as the tail waddles from an abandoned Los Angeles area park toward the sunny thought of Pacific beaches, the originally agile storytelling suffers some bumps. The first bump takes place in the park itself when a plethora of city services descend on man and fowl. Whereas the filmmakers are able to sell the friendship of Arthur and Duck, they fail miserably to sell what seems to be a commentary on social services. Thankfully, the film eventually recovers with some warm interactions with another social outcast and animal friend.
Authur and Duck encounter other interactions that are painted heavy-handed, but nonetheless flicker with a sweet sincerity of inter-human kindness.
With such a winning idea, the film could have been improved by taming the extremes, beginning the pilgrimage prior to that failing park scene (omitting that scene all together) and showing the grittier side of homeless living. With a little stretch of the imagination, it’s a much quieter version of The Pursuit of Happyness (which could have benefited from some of Duck’s sweetness).
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