Duck You Suckers

What about ducks? Rats, walruses, pigs, dogs, killer whales, mice, bugs -- they all have their movies. Why not ducks? They’re cute, goofy, have nice beaks and webbed feet. They quack and walk funny. Why no movie?

What about Donald and Daffy? Mere sidekicks, and annoying to boot. “Duck Tales” in 1999? Scrooge McDuck is about as lovable and popular as John McCain. “Lord Love a Duck?” “Duck Soup?” “Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx?” The ducks are only in the titles, I’m afraid. And, of course, there is  “Howard the Duck,” the film that probably ruined it for all ducks to come.

Until now. As I noted in a posting last fall, certain TV commercials and the characters that appear in them exceed in inventiveness and entertainment value about 90 % of the stuff appearing on ther big screen. Among those I mentioned was the Aflac duck. I don’t want any credit for discovering a new star, but it seems I wasn’t the only one who noticed.

Nic Bettauer, whose previous credit is the black comedy “Zack and Reba,” was planning to adapt her novella, aptly named “Duck,”   in which “A man and a duck search for the means to live, and some meaning in life, in Los Angeles 2009.” In other words, a futuristic “Harry and Tonto” with President Jeb Bush and feathers. She cast Philip Baker Hall, renowned veteran character actor, as the man, Arthur. What fowl could hold the screen with Hall as Joe, the duck? None other than the heartwarming waddler who matches sputtering non-sequiturs with Yogi Berra in our favorite employment insurance commercial. Known to his friends in real life as Duck #30.

“Duck” is scheduled to open at the Embassy Cinema in Waltham on August 24.

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