My Gay Toronto - MGT Hot Topic

The flight and fall of
Bird Co Media

By Drew Rowsome

Bird Co Media is a charming little comic documentary about a bird-brained start up that goes extraordinarily well before going to the birds. It is also something else entirely but that would require a spoiler that would ruin the fun. So, if a feature length episode of The Office with better production values but a few less squirmy set-pieces appeals, don't read any further, go enjoy the film. Bird Co Media may be filled with gentle laughs but it does have a satirical bite that . . . again with the spoiler.

Mockumentaries are now a staple in the horror genre and it is an effective device, creating an oxymoronic fake reality that can make the scares seem real. Balancing comedy and fake reality is a little trickier and Bird Co Media, for the most part, conjures that pigeon out of the top hat. The first documentary subject we meet is Bradley Miller, a Vancouverite who is the quintessential boy next door. The sort of lovable loser slacker it is easy to identify with and possessed of a quirky attainable sexiness. He, or his character, has a grand scheme to create a company, Bird Co Media, that attaches advertising banners to birds and then sending them into the skies. 

The idea is peppered with preposterous flaws but Miller's apparent sincerity and frat boy charm conquers that first waft of wtf. We then meet his business partner, the a-touch-too-handsome and coiffed Kabir Ali, who is just as sincere though also apparently conniving and ruthless. Alas the sexual tension between the two is never explored beyond a competitive heterosexuality and an awkward moment involving a bathrobe. The macho and devious bird wrangler Zoran is hilarious while wandering closest to the edge of destroying our belief in the film's reality, but by then the plot has kicked in and wondering "could this be real?" is another hook to keep watching.
We mainly see the birds perched with the signs dangling behind them - and it is a disturbing sight that would indeed motivate the animal activists who create part of the conflicts to come - and the few times we do see them in flight it is from a distance looking suspiciously like CGI. The absurdities pile up and by the time the credits roll, including a list of hair and make-up artists, one is in on the joke and a little pleased by being almost hoodwinked. 

Bird Co Media is perhaps a little too genial for its own good. The filmmakers only touch lightly on the racial satire involved with a Vancouver boy immersed in Indian culture (pop singer and primary investor Lucky Ali is a vicious send-up that should probably be a film all his own) and, when the true horror of what is happening with the birds is revealed (in the one moment that does resemble a well-shot segment of Paranormal Activity IIIIIIIV or DCLXVI and raised dashed hopes for a major plot redirection) it is softened which maintains the comic tone but utterly ruins poor Bradley Miller's big moments and the attempted emotional impact of the ending.

Bird Co Media is clever and almost too slick for its own good - no shaky cameras or bad lighting to be seen - and, even being in on the joke, it is a diverting ride. Though I have no idea why they aren't promoting it with banners attached to birds.

Bird Co Media is in select theatres.