The Big Year

  • PG
  • David Frankel (2011)
  • US
  • 95 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
2 out of 5

Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson play rival "birders" who are doing "The Big Year", a competition to find the top spotter of different bird species on US soil. On paper, the trio looks like a comedy dream team. On film, however, they're amiably ordinary. Director David Frankel (who directed Wilson in Marley & Me) doesn't fully exploit the line-up of talent. Martin's silky comic skills, Black's broader schtick and Wilson's likeable patter are lost in a story that isn't quite funny enough to be a comedy or dramatic enough to be a drama, and there's a distinct lack of tension between the characters. Britain's own birders might be lured by the subject matter alone, but even they would fail to be transfixed by a feather-light tale that never really takes off.

Plot Summary

A weather phenomenon brings an unusually large number of rare birds to America, which results in a prestigious year-long birdwatching competition. The event attracts three obsessive enthusiasts - a man on the brink of retirement, an amateur spotter whose family do not understand his passion, and a ruthless champion defending his reputation at all costs. Comedy, starring Jack Black, Owen Wilson and Steve Martin.

Cast and crew


Stu Preissler
Steve Martin
Brad Harris
Jack Black
Kenny Bostick
Owen Wilson
Brian Dennehy
Annie Auklet
Anjelica Huston
Rashida Jones
Rosamund Pike
Dianne Wiest
JoBeth Williams
Barry Loomis
Joe McHale
Tim Blake Nelson
Jim Parsons
Jim Gittelson
Kevin Pollak
Gil Gordon
Corbin Bernsen
Historical montage narrator
John Cleese
Bill Clemont
Anthony Anderson


David Frankel

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
20th Century Fox
Available on DVD and BluRay
Released 2 Dec 2011
Certificate PG