The Big Year (2011)



Critic Consensus: Though made with care and affection for its characters, The Big Year plods along, rarely reaching any comedic heights.

Movie Info

Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson are at a crossroads -- one is experiencing a mid-life crisis, another a late-life crisis, and the third, a far from ordinary no-life crisis. From David Frankel, the director of The Devil Wears Prada and Marley & Me, comes a sophisticated comedy about three friendly rivals who, tired of being ruled by obligations and responsibilities, dedicate a year of their lives to following their dreams. Their big year takes them on a cross-country journey of wild and … More

Rating: PG (for language and some sensuality)
Genre: Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Mark Obmascik, Howard Franklin
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 31, 2012
Box Office: $7.2M
20th Century Fox - Official Site


as Stu Preissler

as Brad Harris

as Kenny Bostick

as Annie Auklet

as Brenda

as Bill Clemont

as Barry Loomis

as Jim Gittleson

as Gil Gordon

as Historical Montage N...

as Prasad

as Susie

as Computer Birder

as Birder's Daughter

as Dr. Paul Elkin

as Old Lady

as Frank Falucci

as New York Weatherman

as Dr. Neil Kramer

as Security Guard

as Local Newsman (High ...

as Local Newswoman (Hig...

as British Tourist

as Birder (High Island)

as Troop Leader

as Rick McIntire

as Mike Shin

as Mary Swit

as Colin Debs

as CB Announcer

as Pete Shackelford

as Anchorage Weatherman

as CB Announcer

as Anchorage Anchorman

as Lanky Birder

as Motel Manager

as Darren

as Ferry Ticket Seller

as Ted Simkin

as Nurse Katie

as Parking Attendant

as Chinese Waiter

as Chinese Waitress
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Big Year

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Critic Reviews for The Big Year

All Critics (103) | Top Critics (35)

The result is an offence-free, mild entertainment in which everyone from cast to scriptwriter seems to be winging it.

Full Review… | October 21, 2011
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Faintly amusing, not wacky at all, considering this cast.

Full Review… | December 31, 2012
Tribune News Service

The Big Year is completely predictable and full of way too many bird-watching montages set to inspiring music, but it's such an upbeat, cheery film that it's pretty hard to resist.

Full Review… | February 23, 2012

If you can get past the obviously obscure subject matter, you'll find a really sweet film beneath.

Full Review… | February 13, 2012
7M Pictures

If you go into it not expecting big comedy, "The Big Year" can be an enjoyable diversion for an evening. But it helps if you like nature.

Full Review… | February 5, 2012
Movie Metropolis

Frankel and co might have taken a bolder step into the darkly comedic look of the birder's psyche and added more of a gust of air into this film's feathers ...

Full Review… | December 8, 2011

Audience Reviews for The Big Year

Wasted My Time ON This One. 1 star 4-22-13

Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer


The Big Year is an amiable, dull film with a star studded and underused cast of fine comedians who are unable to make this worth seeing. It's about bird obsessive bird watchers, but you won't care. I was wondering if bird watching was the problem, in that it's just not interesting enough to merit being a movie subject, but there are movies about ostensibly deadly dull pastimes that are riveting because of high stakes and a great script. See 'Clerks', 'Office Space', etc. This has neither.

Apparently, the goal for major 'birders' is to see the most bird species in one year (on the honor system, you don't actually need to produce evidence!). This lame film is about three characters going head to head to achieve this. Steve Martin, looking strangely beaten throughout the film, seems to have the most screen time. I'd go along with him almost in any film, so intelligent and warm a comic presence, but I stayed with him here out of train wreck empathy. (I wish there was an actual train wreck!! Here his saddest moment is missing a plane). He plays a successful New York mogul on verge of retirement.

Jack Black, a divorced office drone who lives with his parents (Brian Dennehy and Diane Wiest, even the most minor characters are accomplished!!) is his competition. Finally, Owen Wilson is the most arrogant and successful bird watcher in the world, and he's the villain.

Wilson and Martin have beautiful long suffering wives (Rosamund Pike and Jobeth Williams) and Black has his eyes on fellow birdwatcher Rashida Jones. I won't waste your time with more plot description. This film has lovely locations (B.C. standing in for various U.S. birding meccas, like the Aleutian islands and the New Mexico desert) and wonderful shots of birds.

Screenwriter and director David Frankel has made a career out of successful low key comedies (The Devil Wears Prada, Marley and Me). For example, Marley and Me was about a couple who adopt a dog. Their marriage is framed by the relationship with the dog and somehow, it's very moving and you care. This film doesn't care enough to raise any stakes. Everyone is so nice and has very little to lose. He tries to make us care whether Owen Wilson's wife will leave him because she's trying to get pregnant and he ignores her to have his 'big year'. She eventually leaves, and he doesn't change or care at all, due to a poor script and Owen Wilson acting limitations. Why should we give a damn?

If you are falling asleep and would prefer to watch something that you won't care enough to rewind to catch up when you wake up, this is your movie. I marvel at the waste of money and talent.

Josh Morris
Josh Morris

Super Reviewer

I'm not sure what it is about Steve Martin, but I just adore him. He is charming, and funny. I am NOT a fan of Jack Black, for the most part, but I even enjoyed him in this. The rest of the movie is chock full of familiar faces...Owen Wilson included (great job by him, also). I'm not sure why this received such low ratings. Maybe people see this stellar cast, and expect to be knocked over with laughter during every scene. This was just a really nice, lightly chuckle, smile a lot kind of movie. I prefer this...

Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

The Big Year Quotes

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