The Big Year

In 20th Century Fox’s newest release on DVD, Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, and Jack Black star as three men who decide to participate in the bird-watching event of the year – The Big Year.  Every year birdwatchers of the world try to see as many native North Americans birds that than can in a single calendar year.  The winner is considered the best birder in the nation.  Each man is at a different place in his life; one is retiring, one is having a mid-life crisis, while the other is just getting started in life.  These three men compete with each other to see as many birds as they possibly can for this prestigious yearlong event.  Each man will discover what he is willing to give up in life to be the best.  Whether it is jobs, family, or friends, they will discover what the true cost of following their dream will be.

Directed by David Frankel (Marley and Me, Devil Wears Prada) the movie pays great homage to the sport and hobby of bird watching or birding.  It is a low-key comedy that is well-paced and easy to watch.  Engaging and enlivened by likeable characters and an original plot, The Big Year is an enjoyable movie for those looking for a good film about following your dreams.  It is a very calm movie for the likes of Martin, Wilson, and Black who are usually known for out of this world comedies, though each actor gives a solid performance.  If you love bird watching you are going to love this movie as it shows what birding is really all about.  The never ending chases to find the needle in the haystack with the rare conclusion of success.  There are also some really beautiful birds in this picture, which there would have to be for a film like this.

The script is good, as each man gets to know each other and themselves a little better as the year progresses.  It is not entirely as memorable as the unique plot of birding.  The performances are not entirely memorable as well as this comedy leans heavily on drama, but it is still a good movie. Although it can be rather corny and at times sentimental, this colorful “drama-edy” is interesting mostly because it is about a topic that many of us moviegoers no little to nothing about.  The Big Year is definitely a movie that your grandfather would really enjoy, as it is as mild as can be.  Altogether birds of a feather will adore this picture that is about as exciting as watching the birds migrate.

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