Big Year, The (Blu-ray Review)29 Jan, 2012 By: Angelique Flores
Box Office $7.2 million
$29.98 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘PG’ for language and some sensuality.
Stars Steve Martin, Jack Black, Owen Wilson, Rosamund Pike, Joel McHale, Jim Parsons, John Cleese, Kevin Pollak.
As crazy as it might seem, the Big Year is actually a real birding contest. And this film is based on the quest of three men to see or hear the most birds in a year, as written about in a book of the same name by Mark Obmascik.
Kenny (Owen Wilson) is a contractor whose wife is going through fertility treatment. Brad (Jack Black) is a divorced computer programmer whose father is constantly on his case about his bird-watching hobby. And Stu (Steve Martin) is an executive at company who is having hard time retiring, even though his wife supports anything he wants to do — even if it means being away birding on Thanksgiving Day. All three are passionate about birding, and all three have decided to compete in the Big Year.
Kenny is the prior year’s reigning champ, who also set a record for the number of birds spotted. Brad and Stu meet on a birding tour and develop of father-son type of relationship, grounded in their shared passion. Turned off by Kenny’s arrogance, they end up joining forces to so that one of them will beat Kenny.
However, Kenny stops at nothing and puts the contest before everything, including his wife who awaits him at the doctor’s office.
John Cleese narrates the film as a narrator might for a nature documentary, which is a cute touch but could’ve been made a more comedic tool.
With Wilson, Black and Martin as the stars, the film promises more laughs than are delivered. Instead, there’s a sort of unexpected sentimentality in this comedy, especially at the end. It seems to point out an elementary school lesson that those who put themselves first at the expense of others end up losing the important things in the end.