''Paulie'' is a 1998 family film about a sapient parrot, more accurately a blue-crowned conure. The film was directed by John Roberts, previously known for such films as "This Boy's Story"(1992) and "War Of The Buttons" (1994). The main stars were JayMohr, Creator/TonyShalhoub, Hallie Kate Eisenberg, Buddy Hackett, Gena Rowlands, Cheech Marin, Tia Texada, Bruce Davison, and Trini Alvarado.

The film starts by featuring Misha Belenkoff (Shalhoub) in his first night as the janitor at an animal testing lab. He used to be a literature teacher in Russia, but has been reduced to menial jobs after immigrating to the United States. His curiosity is piqued by a lone parrot, kept in isolation in the basement. He soon realizes that that parrot can do more than mimic sounds: he sings and talks, but only when away from observers. He gets the parrot to speak to him, but Paulie (Mohr) refuses to speak or perform for anyone else.

He eventually gets Paulie talking about his life story. Most of the rest of the narrative is told in flashbacks. His earliest memories find him as the pet of 5-year old Marie Alweather (Eisenberg). Marie is a stutterer. Her worried parents are pressuring Marie to start speaking properly. By observing the lessons, Paulie learns the meaning of words and how to construct complex sentences. He is then able to help Marie learn without pressure. Her stories about speaking to her parrot convince her father that Marie is unable to differentiate between fantasy and reality. He deals with this by selling the bird.

The next few years of Paulie's life are not depicted. He eventually finds himself at the pawnshop of the sarcastic Artie (Hackett). The films proceeds to follow Paulie's life under later owners and his efforts to locate Marie. The first such owner is the aging artist Ivy (Rowlands). She teaches him a lot about life and putting things into perspective, but her health eventually takes a turn for the worst. The next owner is Ignacio (Marin), proud owner of a taco stand, entertainer and owner of trained parrots. Paulie learns to perform for an audience and falls for Lupe (Texada), a female conure. A misadventure lands him at the hands of petty criminal Benny (Mohr) and his girlfriend Ruby (Texada). They teach him the value of money and how to steal for them. Stealing from wallets and ATM machines proves easy, but his first attempt at burglary gets him captured.

He ends up at the institute. Dr. Reingold (Davison) promises to help him, but sees him more as a meal ticket. Paulie stops being so trusting and refuses to cooperate. This being the reason for his long isolation. Back to the present, [[spoiler: Misha decides to help Paulie escape and find Marie. To their surprise, decades have passed. They find an adult Marie (Alvarado), who is, regardless, happy to get her companion back.]]

!!This film provides examples of:

* ABoyAndHisX: A girl and her blue-crowned conure.
* AbusiveParents: Marie's father, who argues with his wife in front of his daughter and gets angry when she can't say a word. He soon thinks his daughter, a 5 years old mind you, is getting mentally ill for saying Paulie was helping her. Then, he brings a cat home and doesn't want to believe it tried to kill a bird. Finally, he considers getting rid of Paulie, which is exactly what encouraged his daughter to teach Paulie to fly and fall off the roof.
* AcrophobicBird: Both Marie and Ivy spend time trying to teach Paulie to fly. He first has to overcome his fear of heights.
* AmplifiedAnimalAptitude: Paulie is constantly able to speak, learn new skills and form plans. He is surprised that the other parrots seem unable to do so, including his beloved Lupe.
* AnimalTesting: The lab. Though what the tests involve remains unclear.
* CharacterTitle
* CoolPet: A pet that can help you with your language skills, act as a seeing dog (for Ivy), sing and dance. No wonder Paulie is loved by his various owners.
* DirtyCoward: Benny. He got Paulie to rob somebody's house, and when the owner of the house found out, Benny selfishly ditched Paulie, for fear of being arrested.
* FreudianExcuse: It's established in the film that the reason Marie's father acts the way he does is because he's a ShellShockedVeteran from serving in UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar.
* GoldDigger: [[Music/KanyeWest Now I ain't sayin' she's a gold digger,]] but Ruby's the one who pushes for the home robbery because she wants more luxury items than can be brought in ripping off ATM's. She's pretty vocal about it.
* {{Irony}}: Marie decides to teach [[AcrophobicBird Paulie]] how to fly in case they're ever separated. The attempt leads to her being injured after falling off the roof, and her father decides to send Paulie away.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Paulie can be this with his sarcastic, snarky personality and flippant insults. Ivy teaches him to tone it down. By the time Misha finds him, a lifetime full of disappointments has turned Paulie into a bitter bird.
* JerkWithAHeartOfJerk: It may be a stretch to say career criminal Benny has a heart of gold. Nickel plated aluminum maybe. But by the time Paulie is ready to make his [[spoiler: ill fated]] debut as a burglar, Benny, who had initially only birdnapped Paulie as pawn, has genuinely come to care about him, expressing concern about his safety multiple times. [[spoiler: Doesn't stop Benny from bailing when things go sour though.]]
* KarmaHoudini: Benny. He abducts Paulie from Ignacio, who he was genuinely happy living with, trains Paulie into becoming a thief, and when Paulie is caught while they try to rob a house, Benny escapes and is never seen again.
* NeverSayDie: [[spoiler: Ivy. Her death isn't shown on screen - instead we see a shot of an ambulance outside her house while Paulie's narration states that "the cat got her".]]
* OutlawCouple: Benny and Ruby.
* PollyWantsAMicrophone: Paulie is a talking bird; the catch is that every ''other'' parrot in the movie ''isn't'', and most humans have difficulty believing that Paulie ''is''.
* PottyFailure: Implied to have happened to Paulie while in the car with Benny after they had burritos.
* ProtagonistTitle
* PorkyPigPronunciation: Marie talked this way as a kid.
* SeldomSeenSpecies: Blue-crowned conures are popular pets, but they are not that often depicted in fiction. Reportedly: "The most famous fictional Blue-crowned Conure is the title character in the 1998 movie Paulie. The movie used 14 birds to play the role of the talking parrot and caused a surge in the popularity of Blue-crowned Conures as pets."
* SheIsAllGrownUp: [[spoiler: Paulie has trouble realizing that his little Marie has grown into a woman. However this comes as a pleasant surprise to Misha, who is obviously attracted to her.]]
* SlidingScaleOfAnimalCommunication: Level 7. Paulie can freely talk with people, but seems to be the only member of his species able to do so.
* TalkingAnimal: Paulie. He is able to speak and think, but remains a pet.
* TropeyComeHome: Played with. Paulie has spent decades trying to locate Marie. [[spoiler: How she spent the missing time is not covered. She just accepts that her pet returned.]]
* TrustPassword: [[spoiler: The adult Marie proves her identity to a skeptical Paulie by singing a song she used to sing with him as a child.]]
* WorthlessForeignDegree: Mentioned above, Belenkoff used to be a literature teacher in Russia, but reduced to a Janitor in the US.