The Big Year: "A Year To Do All The Things We Never Could"

Director: David Frankel
Writer:    Howard Franklin
               Mark Obmascik
Starring: Steve Martin
               Jack Black
               Owen Wilson
               Rashida Jones
               Anjelica Houston
               Jim Parsons
               Rosamund Pike
               Anthony Anderson
               Joel McHale
Rating:    **

Home Release: 26/03/12

In The Big Year a group of people take part in a competition which sees them trying to see the most amount of birds in one year. There is no prize at the end, and you don't even have to have proof, soto be honest, the chances are that whoever beats you is cheating. Anyway, apparently people to take part in such events, and these events are called a Big Year.

Brad Harris (Black) is a guy who has nothing really going for him, and is stuck in a dead end job at a Nuclear Power Plant. His competition comes in the form of friendly Stu Preissler (Martin)  and conniving Kenny Bostick (Wilson). Martin plays the kind of fatherly figure that he has become so famous for, and even though this is a pretty pointless movie, whenever he opens his mouth to release some wonderful wisdom I’m pretty much  happy to just sit back and take it in. Wilson plays some sort of sneaky 'villain' who wears an annoying and ludicrous hat. The chemistry between the trio is good, but not good enough to bring in the audience they wanted.

Nothing really happens in the film, and there is no real pinacle. The three of them race around on adventures just spotting birds, but if you can walk away from the film and name any particular scene which stands out above the others, I’ll give you a round of applause, basically nothing here makes much of an impression. There was one vaguely funny moment where Owen Wilson hangs his pants from a flag pole, but for some reason this only happens in the background and is generally ignored. This is something that The Big Year is good at that, ignoring anything happening which might be interesting enough to get even the slightest of chuckle.

Like many films before it The Big Year doesn’t really bother, mainly because it doesn’t have to. It has the superstar cast, in this case Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson, aswell as a terrific supporting cast (Parsons, Jones, Houston, Pike Anderson & McHale). To be fair, they're all actors that people over a certain age will love, and maybe even feel a little bit edgy for loving. I’m not actually certain that The Big Year aims for this particularly boring demographic intentionally, it might well be a series of unfortunate coincidences, and from the way the studio failed to market it to anyone, I’d say it is. Maybe this is just what happens when you try to make a movie about bird watching. Maybe it’s impossible to make anything really interesting, on a subject that is itself so uninteresting. 
The Big Year - Trailer