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Mixed or average reviews - based on 29 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 42 Ratings

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  • Summary: Based on Mark Obmascik's 1998 book "The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession," the film is about three men who try to outdo each other in a bird-watching competition to spot the rarest birds in North America. The rivalry is an allegory for the challenges each faces in his own life. (20th Century Fox)


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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 29
  2. Negative: 2 out of 29
  1. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Oct 16, 2011
    83
    Frankel's movie is as refreshing as a walk in the woods and surprising as a chance encounter with the best that nature can offer.
  2. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Oct 13, 2011
    70
    Genial and mild, The Big Year doesn't give in to the temptation to juice up its story with outsized caricatures or inflated dramas.
  3. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Oct 13, 2011
    70
    If you're in the mood for some feathery fluff of the happy-sappy-and-not-wholly-unpleasant sort and need a break from snark, there is The Big Year.
  4. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Oct 14, 2011
    60
    This one could have flown over the cuckoo's nest, or smacked into a glass pane, but instead lands in the middle of the road where quirky and popular meet.
  5. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Oct 14, 2011
    50
    The Big Year puts the focus on people who aren't inherently interesting - or funny.
  6. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    Oct 13, 2011
    50
    Those who should go near The Big Year, if not flock to it, are fans of avians, mild PG comedy and gorgeously shot travel footage dotted with humans.
  7. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Oct 13, 2011
    25
    Why does The Big Year's trailer intentionally hide what the film is really about? Here's why: Because bird-watching - or birding, as practitioners prefer to call it - makes for a stupefyingly boring movie.

See all 29 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 15
  2. Negative: 2 out of 15
  1. Sep 7, 2013
    10
    This movie is soooooo underrated!!! One of the best movie surprises I've bumped into in I don't even know how long. I picked up the 5$ special at Walmart thinking oh gee some slapstick comedy to kick it on a Friday evening. I was sooooo surprised. This is brilliant. It's beyond brilliant. I'll bet half of the reviewers didn't even "get" what they were doing with this movie, because they don't particularly "get" into nature. --Take another look; there's more than just nature going on if you watch carefully! Delicate satirical reference and parallels just out of reach of the obvious and beautifully executed. The bargain basement DVD comes with a great "extended cut". I just regret there isn't some "behind the scenes" takes on it as well.
    The scenery is gorgeous, the clever expose unveils soooo much more than the simple plot. Now that the movie is showing up in the Wal-Mart bins, this movie deserves resurrection. As another reviewer noted, there's no blood and guts, steamy sex, guns, money heists, violence, or language. What's left? I'll tell you: something genuinely new and creative. Give this movie another look! Its one of the most intelligent works out of Hollywood in a long long time. The acting could not be better by three of the best of the best at the top of their own game! Of course these guys slipped in some double tongue humor for the quick minded. Pay attention! Many stars and all thumbs up on this one!
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  2. Mar 31, 2012
    10
    Underrated movie.
    I kinda recognized myself in all of the characters and in the end I felt a feeling I've never felt before watching a movie.
    I was humbled and feeling nostalgic in some crazy way.

    I am not interested in birds at all but this movie was amazingly well shot, well directed and also the story was quite nice. I also felt as if the movie was really unique. However, it is not a comedy, it is more like a happy drama. During the whole movie I was afraid of certain things happening and the director fulfilled every wish and at the same time making it all so exciting. Great movie! And very beutiful scenes!
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  3. Oct 24, 2011
    9
    I thought the Big Year was great! Story was really well written, acted and directed. Subtle, adult humor - not the nonsense written for 12 year olds (no offense to 12 year olds). The characters were well drawn and likable. What a great cast - I love Jack Black best when he's not stuck in slapstick, silly comedies. He's got an emotive face and deeper acting ability than he's ever given a chance to showcase in some of the more shallow comedies into which the industry has niched him. If you ever saw his first hit - High Fidelity with John Cusack - then you know exactly what we've been missing from him in the last several years. Steve Martin is the subtle gem that I like best - similar to recent role in "It's Complicated." Owen Wilson was great as well. They're all funny guys and don't have to try hard to be likable or humorous here. I'm completely bewildered that this movie hasn't done better at box office. Everyone in my theater seemed to really enjoy it. I think they just promoted it badly - they gave fans the expectation of another obvious comedy instead of a movie done with more sophisticated humor than your average 12 year old is interested in, so the wrong people went to see it and the right audience has stayed away. Expand
  4. Oct 25, 2011
    8
    I went in with low expectations and walked out shocked from the disappointment with the box office. I found this movie delightful. It was fun and adventurous. They shouldve promoted this movie better. Some comedic lines here and there and a great, wonderful story. I never had too big of an interest in birds but wow are there alot of categories of birds. This movie was very interesting. With powerhouses like jack black, owen wilson, and steve martin and this movie only made 3 mil opening weekend? Thats shocking. If you enjoy a heartwarming film with a powerful cast you must see this movie. You wont regret it. 8/10 Expand
  5. Apr 21, 2013
    8
    The Big Year was a pretty great film. It was subtle, bittersweet and unpredictable. I expected the usual Hollywood rom-com slapstick farce and was pleasantly surprised. Great stuff. Expand
  6. Feb 8, 2012
    8
    I did enjoy The Big Year very much . Im not gonna put it as a Comedy film but Its was very amusing .The Big Year is like an amazing Documentary about birds , About The Watcher and about the world. I like adventure and Birds and this movie showed that perfectly . Story was good but could be better . David Frankel's directing was really really good, The Movie Had an amazing ensemble cast and they all played so well. Find out so many things about Birds and The World , The Big Year is a very educational movie . Overall This movie will make u wanna fly like those birdwatchers . Expand
  7. Feb 2, 2012
    0
    I an truly amazed that this pantload of a movie got a single score above a zero. The only way that's possible is if those reviewers happen to be one of these weird "birding" nerds. To be perfectly honest, we felt completely ripped off by the false advertising of this piece of crap. In the previews, in every single interview with the cast, there wasn't one mention of a bird or "birding" in any capacity...it was made to look like something similar to The Bucket List, with the cast doing a bunch of crazy things over a year. NOT WATCHING FREAKING BIRDS! Maybe not the worst movie ever, but surely in the top 10, and definitely the most dissapointing I have ever seen. I can't for the life of me figure out why any of those guys would ever even consider doing this movie. Anyone who rated this above a zero has been eating way too many retard sandwiches... Expand

See all 15 User Reviews

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