The Big Year is based on Mark Obmascik’s book. The title is apparently a bird-watching term.
One does a big year when they are willing to devote almost all of their time to the sport — if we can call it that — of birdwatching. A big year is an attempt to see as many different species as possible.
While not exactly true, the movie does highlight the lengths that those who love birds will go to spot this species or that. The flick stars Jack Black as a young man and perennial loser whose dream is to set the record for the most birds seen in a year during bird watching. The world record is 732 species. It is held by Owen Wilson’s Kenny Bostick.
Steve Martin plays a successful corporate owner with the same dream. He and Black’s Brad Harris become fast-friends. Wilson’s self-centered Bostick is out to make sure no one can beat his record. Ensconced in the complicated non-plot — and yes, that is a bit of an oxymoron — is a side story about Bostick’s wife, her wanting a baby and a normal life.
The positives are Black, Martin and Wilson who have an easy chemistry.
In spite of the popularity of the stars, not many viewers will think The Big Year is a big deal. Production and script-wise, it’s probably closer to a movie for television than something you’d normally see on the big screen. And movies about the obsession of birdwatching aren’t exactly close to the top of anyone’s must-see list.
Unless you’re a birdwatcher.
Mr. Movie rating: 3 stars
Rated PG for mature themes. It opens Friday, Oct. 14 at Regal’s Columbia Center 8 and at the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.