Jewish Journal

Two Jews on Film: ‘The Big Year’ Review,

by Joan Schwartz (video by Joan and John Schwartz)

October 13, 2011 | 12:09 pm

What does a Fork tailed Flycatch, a Yellow Crested Finch and a Pink Footed Goose have in common with Jack Black, Owen Wilson and Steve Martin? They are all in a new comedy called ‘The Big Year’, directed by David Frankel (Devil Wears Prada).

The Big Year refers to a real life competition where birders (people who are obsessed with our feathery friends) race to see, who can spot the most species of birds, within a calender year.

Sounds exciting? Well if it does, then this is the film for you to see.

When ‘The Big Year’ begins, we meet three very different men…who share the same dream…to win this competition.

Stu Preissler (Steve Martin) is a very sucessful businessman, who founded his own company. Now, Stu wants to retire to his beautiful home in the woods of Colorado with his wife, Edith(JoBeth Williams) Stu’s had it with the corporate rat race. Unfortunately, just when he thought he was out, they (Stu’s business associates, Kevin Pollak and Joel McHale) keep pulling him back in…

Story continues after the jump.

Brad Harris (Jack Black) is a discontented, code-writer (aren’t they all) who hates his job. All Harris wants, is to be the best bird-watcher he can be.

And finally, there’s Kenny Bostick (Owen Wilson) a very successful contractor, who holds the record of having seen 732 different species of birds in the course of one calendar year. Kenny equates his title to that of Joe DiMaggios’s 56 game hitting streak. Bostick will do anything and everything to hold onto his title..even if it means screwing up his marriage to the lovely, Jessica (Rosamind Pike).

Okay, so to sum up…We have three men who are passionate about birds…lots of male bonding…even some female, male bonding and of course…birds…beautiful, colorful and expressive birds. And I mustn’t forget the incredible scenery. ‘The Big Year’ was shot was shot in Tofino, Osoyoos, Whistler, British Columbia, Upstate New York,Fire Island, Joshua Tree and the Florida Everglades.

Does all that add up to a super funny comedy? Not so much. But the film did make me chuckle several times.

I gave the film more bagels, of course, then John…but we weren’t too far apart. Check out our video to see the final count.

‘The Big Year’ opens in theaters, Friday, October 14, 2011.

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