By Jason Czajka
If you took a classic road trip comedy like Planes, Trains and Automobiles and you mixed it with a buddy comedy like Grumpy Old Men, what kind of movie do you think you would get? You really don’t have to look far and wide for the answer – writer and director Tony Vidal’s Free Byrd available now on VOD, would be just what you were looking for!
Loveable loser Jay Butler (Randy Nazarian) is a failed former actor who has taken a job as a van driver for an assisted living facility. Harry Byrd (Raymond J. Barry) is a cantankerous resident of this same living facility who, after one too many “incidents” is forced to be transferred to a different facility. It’s up to Jay to get him there in one piece – which ends up being no easy task. Along the way, the duo falls into a series of mishaps and misadventures including getting stranded on the side of the road and being rescued by a traveling burlesque troupe who enlist Jay and Harry into their act as an opening comedy team. Harry does all he can to delay his trip to his next home as he clings to the sense of life and freedom he’s lost in his old age. Throughout their adventure, the pair discover new ways to see the world and discover things about themselves they didn’t know before their journey began.
Free Byrd is as much your standard comedy fare as it is an exploration of the love between a father and son. Throughout the film we learn a lot about father/son relationships and the effect they have on us as we grow older. Jay never truly had the love and respect he desired from his father, and Harry is the father to three children who, although their intentions are good, feel they also have a strained relationship with their dad. Harry realizes this through is adventures with Jay and begins to develop a father/son relationship with his temporary caregiver. The journey helps both men grow and change to respect the role that a father plays in their life of their children.
Free Byrd is a fun, cute little indie effort, that despite some missteps and miscasts, has a lot of heart at its core. Then entire cast puts everything they have into this film to provide an enjoyable adventure comedy for audiences young and old. Fathers with sons, especially those of the Baby Boomer generation will really find this movie striking close to home. If you’re looking for an innocent weekend watch, look no further than Free Byrd.
FREE BYRD is available on Digital HD and VOD from APRIL 1. It has a run time of 89 mins.
WRITTEN and DIRECTED by Tony Vidal
PRODUCERS: Tony Vidal, Shondrella Avery, Nicole de Meneses,
Justin Nesbitt, Gregory Wilker
Raymond J. Barry, Randy Nazarian, Shondrella Avery, Bob Turton,
Jeanne Young, Toktam Aboozary, Teruko Nakajima, Bettina Devin
Photos are courtesy of Free Byrd