The Big Year (2011)

PG   |    |  Comedy


The Big Year (2011) Poster

Two bird enthusiasts try to defeat the cocky, cutthroat world record holder in a year-long bird-spotting competition.


6.2/10
40,864

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Awards

1 win.

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18 October 2011 | empken
9
| Much better the trailer indicates
Having read the book by Mark Obmascik and being a birder, I looked forward to 20th Century Fox's film when it was announced over a year ago. I began to get concerned when I saw the trailer which didn't look like book, didn't feature birds and wasn't all that funny. Those unfamiliar with the book or the movie's plot line, a "big year" refers to an informal competition in which birders try to see the most bird species they can within North America (North of Mexico) in one year.

My concerns were put to rest within the first 5 minutes. I found "The Big Year" humorous and thoughtful. The writing avoided the caricatures often associated with birding. I was in shock to see only one bird poop reference and surprisingly no toilet humor (which I would have expected based on the cast). Direction by David Frankel (Marley and Me, Devil wears Prada) was well-paced.

The story centers upon 3 men each going through their own version of a mid-life crisis and hitting the road in search of finding themselves and birds. Owen Wilson plays the record holder for the "Big Year" who is in constant fear that someone is going to top his record. He must decide between his obsession and his wife. Steve Martin plays a successful but retiring businessman who decides to start doing all the things he put on hold over the years. Jack Black, the poorest and youngest of the three, sets out to make a mark and in turn, finds himself. All three actors showed they do have considerable range beyond their usual comedy shtick.

While this story could have generically fit any obsession, the beauty, magic and mystery of birds clearly rings through. Highly Recommended.

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