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Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, and Jack Black star in 'The Big Year': movie review

The new bromantic comedy 'The Big Year,' starring Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, and Jack Black, about bird-watching doesn't go far enough in portraying the passion of the hobby.

Owen Wilson, Jack Black and Steve Martin attend a Q&A on "The Big Year" in Los Angeles.

Chris Pizzello/STF/AP

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I'm willing to concede that being a birder is a worthy pastime, but is birding good movie material? Maybe it is if you're making a documentary for Animal Planet. The new bromantic comedy "The Big Year," starring Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, and Jack Black, didn't exactly change my mind, but every once in a while it captures a suitable-for-framing shot of an avian wonder. Assuming, alas, I haven't been duped by a CGI effect.

The human-based material is less wonderful. Martin's Stu, a wealthy businessman with an adoring wife (JoBeth Williams) and family and a palatial retreat in Vail, Colo., is primed to retire and pursue his lifelong dream. This turns out to be placing in the real-life Big Year competition, in which the winner spots the most species of birds in North America within one calendar year.

Jack Black's Brad is a computer code writer and layabout who wants to be the best at something – in this case, bird-watching. He, too, sets out on his Big Year, setting aside his weekends.


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