Blu-ray Review The Big Year
Directed by: David Frankel Cast: Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, Jack Black Running Time: 1 hr 40 min Rating: PG Due Out: January 31, 2012
PLOT: Three "birders" (aka bird watchers) are trying to complete a "big year" to see the greatest number of species in the U.S. possible. They spend their time one-upping one another in the field while trying to keep up with home and work life.
WHO'S IT FOR? The filmmakers seem to want it to be for everyone, a PG-rated comedy suitable for adults.
The Big Year is a throwback to an earlier time, it's a family comedy with big stars. It looks great, the scenery is varied and beautiful. Besides the three leads, the cast includes other actors I like: Rashida Jones, Joel McHale and Angelica Huston. But it's not really funny. I laughed one time the whole film. Martin plays a mega-rich regular Joe who goes up against a selfish yet charming contractor (Wilson) who's already completed a record setting big year. Their other competition is a divorced "loser" with a heart of gold who is middle class (Black).
Early on I had a hard time liking the characters. Martin's Stu has no problems, he's successful in business, has a loving family, is a nice guy and makes friends easily. But even worse, he's really boring. He's seems like the modern Steve Martin character. There's a behind the scenes featurette on the disc that shows Martin being funnier on the set than he was in the actual film.
That's the problem. The characters are likable (for the most part), but they're not interesting. Each has problems and goals, but they're never given three dimensions. It's just a Jack Black character (lovable slob), an Owen Wilson character (charming, funny douchebag) and the Martin character mentioned above. It would be forgivable if I got any real comedy, but the movie is just too tame for that. I don't mean it needs to be raunchy, but how about physical comedy? Bird jokes? Anything?
This isn't a bad film, but it's terminally inoffensive. That's not a good thing.
MOVIE SCORE: 5/10
Extended version of The Big Year
The Big Migration