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Rated PG · 100 minutes · 2011

The Big Year is a quirky comedy with great actors, lessons about friendship and family and mortality, and… IT IS A TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE FILM. Don’t get me wrong: It is not the worst movie ever made — not by a long shot — but its particular brand of mediocrity is odious. Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, and Jack Black ought to be ashamed of themselves. Martin went over to the dark side of horribly written scripts with mealy jokes and stereotyped characters a long time ago, a heartbreaking thing for those of us who revered his early work. Wilson and Black also have demonstrated comedic talent — not as much as Martin, but some. That they’ve all ended up together making family-friendly treacle with lame, tame jokes surrounding bird-watching (it’s one ca-razy hobby!) is somewhat tragic. That Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, and Jack Black all signed on to a script that depicts men as competitors with busy lives and jobs and interests and brains, while the women have babies and remodel the house and go shopping and get attacked by birds because they cannot part with their Bergdorf’s scarves — that’s just sad. People who like birds, people who like funny jokes, people who like women, and people who like good movies are going to be disappointed with The Big Year. And while I’m pulling for you, Owen Wilson and Jack Black, it doesn’t appear that there’s any going back.
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Director: David Frankel
Producer: Karen Rosenfelt, Stuart Cornfeld, Curtis Hanson, Carol Fenelon, Ben Stiller and Jeremy Kramer
Cast: Steve Martin, Jack Black, Owen Wilson, Brian Dennehy, Anjelica Huston, Rashida Jones, Rosamund Pike, Dianne Wiest, JoBeth Williams, Anthony Anderson, Corbin Bernsen, Barry Shabaka Henley, Joel McHale, Tim Nelson, Jim Parsons, Kevin Pollak and Nate Torrence


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