6.2/10
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143 user 105 critic

The Big Year (2011)

PG | | Comedy | 14 October 2011 (USA)
Trailer
1:54 | Trailer
Two bird enthusiasts try to defeat the cocky, cutthroat world record holder in a year-long bird-spotting competition.

Director:

David Frankel

Writers:

Howard Franklin (screenplay), Mark Obmascik (book)
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Cleese ... Narrator (voice)
Jack Black ... Brad Harris
Zahf Paroo ... Prasad
Stacey Scowley ... Vicki
Michael Karl Richards ... Vicki's Fiancée
Owen Wilson ... Kenny Bostick
Rosamund Pike ... Jessica
Steve Martin ... Stu Preissler
Kevin Pollak ... Jim Gittelson
Joel McHale ... Barry Loomis
JoBeth Williams ... Edith
Paul Campbell ... Tony
Cindy Busby ... Susie
Greg Kean ... Computer Birder
Eva Bourne ... Birder's Daughter (as Eva Allan)
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Storyline

In birding, a Big Year is seeing or hearing as many different species of birds as possible in a calendar year. Three men pursue the Birder of the Year title: Kenny Bostick, who's seen a record 732 in a past big year, Stu Preissler, newly retired, and Brad Harris, who narrates the story. Life gets in the way: Bostick's wife wants a baby, Stu's firm needs him for sensitive negotiations, and Brad, divorced and underemployed at 36, has an encouraging mom and a disapproving dad. They criss-cross the continent (including a trip to Alaska's westernmost island), follow migration patterns, and head for storms that force birds to ground. Who will win, at what cost, and with what rewards? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for language and some sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]

Country:

USA | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 October 2011 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El gran año See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$41,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,251,884, 16 October 2011

Gross USA:

$7,204,138

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$7,448,385
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Steve Carell and Dustin Hoffman were both attached to star at one point. See more »

Goofs

A Great Gray Owl is shown as being found in Virginia. A species of the Northern boreal forest, this raptor is mainly distributed in Canada and Alaska. It only typically ventures into the contiguous United States in the Northern Rocky Mountains and has never been found in Virginia. See more »

Quotes

On Screen Text: [first lines, the text that appears on screen] This is a true story.
On Screen Text: Only the facts have been changed.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the end credits, photos of every bird found by the winner are shown. See more »

Alternate Versions

UK BluRay sports an Extended Cut of the film, adding a good six minutes of minor background information on the three main characters and special birds. It also replaces Jack Black's narration of the story with a new narration by John Cleese who also receives a credit in the opening title sequence. See more »

Connections

Features Today (1952) See more »

Soundtracks

Blackbird
Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney
Performed by Brad Mehldau
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc.
By arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
'THE BIG YEAR' has medium laughs.
17 October 2011 | by HellmantSee all my reviews

'THE BIG YEAR': Three Stars (Out of Five)

Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson star in this bird watching comedy based on the book 'The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession' by Mark Obmascik. The three play birders (recreational bird watchers) each trying to outdo each other in a 'big year' (a competition in which birders compete to see who can spot the most different species of birds in a single year in a given area, in this case the U.S.). The film was directed by David Frankel (who's also directed such hit comedy films as 'THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA' and 'MARLEY & ME') and written by Howard Franklin. It's not as much of a laugh riot as you might expect coming from the combination of the three big time comedy stars and it's surprisingly clean and lightweight (coming from the three big time comedy stars) but it is much better than the reviews and box office might lead you to believe.

The story is narrated by Brad Harris (Black) as he tells how he followed his dreams, despite lacking much money, and competed in a 'big year' to surprising results, in large part due to the other skilled birders he met along the way: Kenny Bostick (Wilson) and Stu Preissler (Martin). Bostick was the defending champion and known for dishing out a lot of sneaky tricks for throwing off his competitors. Stu was a seasoned vet who becomes a good friend to Brad. The film follows their heated competition as the three desperately try to outdo each other while wrestling with the costs of doing so (mostly family problems at home) as well.

It is interesting to see Black in a pretty clean nice guy role that's not vulgar or buffoonish much at all. He's kind of the central character of the film and it's biggest protagonist. Martin kind of plays the same type of role he usually does, in these family friendly PG rated comedies, while Wilson plays slightly against type by being the film's main antagonist (he still comes off as the same type of wild card he usually does just a little more self centered and rascally than normal). The movie has some touching human drama and strong character development as well. It's not quite as funny as you might hope (like I said), with the three lead actors attached, but it is humorous still (for the most part). The movie is pretty aptly made for it's type and there's really not anything to complain about. I wouldn't say it's a must see comedy but it's not disappointing really in anyway either. The reviews have been harsh and the dim box office results might also lead you to believe the movie doesn't have anything to it but it's surprisingly decent given that information. I think the marketing ultimately cursed it financially and critics will always be overly critical and somewhat absurd in the way they review movies. It's a good film, one I don't think most would regret seeing.

Watch our review show 'MOVIE TALK' at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aj550csrEQk


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