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Film Fans think 'The Big Year' is for the birds

EDITOR'S NOTE: Film Fans features residents reviewing the film of the week: "The Big Year." Want to be a film fan? Email features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

3 out of 4 Stars

I would normally not see a movie about birding but I am glad I saw this one. Surprisingly more subtle and sweet than the previews made it out to be, I settled in to watch the three main actors go out to try and win the "Big Year" competition (spotting more birds than anyone else). This movie made some good statements about relationships, following your dreams and priorities.

I enjoyed the light comedy of the always talented Jack Black, Owen Wilson and Steve Martin, each with their own strong character on their individual adventure.

-- Cindy Evans, Duluth

1 1/2 out of 4 Stars

"The Big Year" with Steve Martin, Jack Black, Owen Wilson and others combines for a rich cast, but comes up with just a fist full of feathers.

The story is about three men in different stages of their lives who are avid "Birders." To the rest of the non-birding population, this means that they are bird watchers. Apparently "birders" is a big deal; who knew? They travel the U.S. in one calendar year and keep track of the different species, locations, etc. of each bird. At the end of the year, the "birder" with the most number of sightings is declared the winner. There's a great deal of competition among the "Birders." I like birds alright, I suppose -- except for the Alfred Hitchcock movie that still scares the bejesus out of me. I don't have a problem with birds. But a year long race? Not so much.

The movie was shot beautifully, and I enjoyed the scenery and the pretty birdies, but other than that, the movie was dull and flightless. There was a huge lack of character development except for one small part of the movie when Jack Black and his dad, Brian Dennehy, have a connection. Speaking of Dennehy, he's not listed on some of the online credits, but instead Dustin Hoffman is there. What's up with that? Did Hoffman read this bird-brained script and fly the coop?

My movie buddy and I agree, this movie was for the birds. Why it wasn't released directly to DVD is amazing. What's even more amazing is that this bad egg was ever hatched.

-- Myra Simons, Buford

2 out of 4 Stars

One might assume that a comedy about bird watching would be a mild, slightly boring thing.

One would be right.

"The Big Year" is bird watching competition in which bird enthusiasts travel to all sorts of remote locations to see how many different birds they can spot in a calender year. Steve Martin, Owen Wilson and Jack Black are avid bird lovers from completely different walks of life that engage in the 12 month odyssey of alliances and competition but troubles arise and they are forced to choose between their passion and their obligations.

"The Big Year" isn't altogether a bad film, it's just a bit bland. People watching birds is a nice thing. People watching a movie about people watching birds ... not so much.

-- Lindsey Hodges, Snellville