Erica: Again, we found ourselves at the ghettotastic Regal theater in Brooklyn. We had some Fandango coupons so we decided to cash some in and catch The Big Year. This movie has gotten nothing but horrible reviews and bombed at the box office, despite 3 big stars in the lead (Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson). This movie has been out for a while so we figured it would not be crowded and boy were we right. Bad reviews didn't keep us away from this movie about Birdwatching....yeah ok maybe that is part of the reason this movie bombed...
Mike: There's something fascinating about how big of a bomb The Big Year turned out to be. Sad, but interesting. It had three big stars, and they did plenty of appearances to get the word out. I saw plenty of ads, which promised a family-friendly comedy. And it launched in over 2,000 theaters - not too wide, but far from a limited release. The movie was set in the world of birdwatching, but is that the big turn-off? It opened terribly to $3 million and was seemingly pulled from theaters after two weeks and a total cume of $6 million. The thing is, the movie's not half bad.
I wasn't expecting much from the director of Marley & Me and The Devil Wears Prada, whose films are drenched in annoying family-sitcom-style sentimentality. The Big Year suffers the same fate - what must be his trademark use of overly dramatic music timed to well tears makes its presence known - but it's still a lot more enjoyable. I found the universe that The Big Year is set in - competitive birdwatching - to be absolutely fascinating, and the three different characters (Black, Wilson, Martin) each had their own reasons for being into it. So I enjoyed it quite a bit, in spite of some of its shortcomings, and hope it'll someday overcome its reputation as just a box office bomb.
It wasn't as terrible as I was expecting it to be. That being said, with three funny comedy superstars in the lead roles, I was expecting to laugh...a lot. I didn't. The most entertaining part of the movie to me was the children sitting behind us with their grandmother (the only other people in the theater) asking if they can leave and when it will be over. This is marketed as a 'family-friendly' film but leave the small children at home. If you have to explain every aspect of the movie to them, it is not worth bringing them to grandma.
I think some people will enjoy this movie and some won't. It is not the greatest movie, but it is certainly not the worst. You should watch it and judge it for yourself.