Sunday, October 16, 2011

REVIEW: The Big Year

The Big Year

Jack Black, Steve Martin,
Owen Wilson


October 14, 2011

David Frankel

20th Century Fox

1 hour 40 minutes



Jack Black, Steve Martin, and Owen Wilson, also known as three of Hollywood’s funniest actors, are in a movie about bird watching, which also happens to come from the director of 'Marley & Me.' From that alone, I was instantly sold. However the trailer for the film came out a mere five weeks ago, and it was one of the worst trailers that I've seen all year, sitting right next to the 'Dream House' trailer. What you may think is a movie about three guys trying to pull off a "bucket list" type deal is actually about three guys trying to see the most birds in one year for the sake of competition. A dumb premise, but we just have to live with it, right? Well unfortunately I couldn't. It may have a nice cast and an interesting plot about birds, but I just couldn't get myself into liking 'The Big Year.' What could have been a hilarious and heartwarming comedy was a rushed, boring, and kind of lame movie with the type of sweetness that's being forced onto you. The same thing was done back in June with 'Mr. Popper's Penguins,' and we all know how that turned out. A bit of irony from Fox, who released both 'Popper' and 'Big Year,' because it seems that the only time a movie released by Fox is actually good is when the studio lets the director edit the movie and trailers rather than doing it themselves. Watch the trailer for this movie if you don't believe me. The film is edited poorly, jumping through many months at some points just for the sake of getting this movie under two hours. Almost everything in this movie was flawed with touch, which made what could have been a fun time a huge disappointment. Overall, 'The Big Year' is a big disappointment for me.

The cast is fine for what they are, but I wished that there characters could have been more slapstick and comedic than mellow and sweet. Owen Wilson plays the exact same character he played in last year's 'How Do You Know.' In case you haven't seen that movie, here's exactly what the two characters are: a self-centered, narcissistic person with an ugly obsession. Wilson is a guy who will stop at nothing to keep his worldwide birding record intact, even if that means missing a few days needed with his wife. This character to me was very annoying, with his every move so predictable that there was no surprise with him at all. Jack Black and Steve Martin play two guys who soon become friends throughout the year. While these guys had a nice chemistry together, the only comedy that they could rely on most of the time was them getting hit by something, falling over in the aftermath. We also get one or two fat jokes that make you just say "ugh" while in your seat. The cast is fine, but they could have been developed so much more. The same thing goes for the supporting cast members, including Rashida Jones and Jim "Sheldon Cooper" Parsons. These characters were undeveloped and served very little purpose for the film itself, plus having about 5-20 minutes of screen time at an average. I was disappointed that Parsons didn't have a very big part, because he is hilarious on 'The Big Bang Theory.' He is just one of those characters that serves no purpose to the film itself and is just, well, there. Quite a disappointed 'Big Bang' fan here.

Have you ever put too much sugar into your cup of tea, making it so sweet you'll want to throw it away almost immediately? That is exactly what 'The Big Year;' a comedy that's too sweet for my appetite. Sure it may have some average acting from its three main leads and some sweet moments between them, but the comedy of the film is scattered throughout the movie so far that I was wondering when something funny would happen. David Frankel directed 2008's surprise hit 'Marley & Me,' and that was the perfect example of a sweet dramady, so it is sad when Frankel can jump from 'Marley' to a bird watching movie. I really wanted to enjoy this movie, but I couldn't get myself around all of the missing comedy and predictable plot points. I imagine that there will be many people who will buy into the sweetness of the film, but I was just not sucking the sugary plot up. If you have the undying urge to see this movie, then I'd suggest a rental at best. There is no purpose of paying $10 a ticket to see this movie, where you can see it for a dollar in about 5-6 months. I wish 'The Big Year' was one of the year's best films, but unfortunately it isn't. 'The Big Year' disappoints in many ways, which is very sad because of its awesome cast. I would have rather sat in a field watching birds for three hours then seeing this movie again. I'm sorry Hollywood, but 'The Big Year' is not very good.


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