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The Big Year Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Eyes pecked out. Read full review


Grae Drake Profile

Ruffles no feathers. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Inspired by Mark Obmascik's book, the tale focuses on universal themes of pursuing a dream and tapping into an adventurous spirit.

    Read Full Review

  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    The more I sat through it, the more it won me over in its very benign high-concept way. It's like "City Slickers" remade for the Discovery Channel.

    Read Full Review

  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy

    The uniformly winning cast, led by Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson, and the ultra-accessible touch provided by director David Frankel provide for a constant steam of gentle mirth, if not huge laughs.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    The Big Year is getting the enthusiastic support of the Audubon Society, and has an innocence and charm that will make it appealing for families, especially those who have had enough whales and dolphins for the year.

    Read Full Review

  • See all The Big Year reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 11+

Sweet travelogue/comedy is tame but not aimed at kids.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this good-natured comedy about birding enthusiasts may initially disappoint fans expecting the usual shtick from co-stars Jack Black and Owen Wilson. But they'll get over it, because what's left is an offbeat, gentle, but still hilarious movie about finding your bliss ... with balance. (There's lots to learn about birds, too.) Although the movie is rated PG, and the content is mild overall -- there's some swearing (including "s--t") and some sexual references -- this movie is more likely to appeal to older tweens, teens, and adults than younger kids.

  • Families can talk about the movie's messages. What is it saying about friendship? About competition?
  • How does the movie handle each character's obsession? Is it an accurate depiction of how a hobby can consume? Have you ever had an interest that "took over"?
  • How does this movie compare to the stars' other films? Who do you think it's most likely to appeal to? Why?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: The movie's central positive take-away is that it's good to set goals and work toward them, no matter the pace or the glory. Also, sometimes the goals change as you change -- and that's OK; we're all works in progress.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: One of the main characters is hyper-focused on winning, even if it costs what matters most. But the two other birders are seeking balance and focus on the joy of their pursuit.

What to watch for
  • violence false1

    Violence: Some fighting among family members. Two characters get into a car crash caused by lack of sleep.

  • sex false1

    Sex: References between a husband and wife about needing to have sex to make a baby. Some flirting and kissing. References to birds' mating behavior.

  • language false3

    Language: "S--t" is used, and there's one (nearly) silent mention of "what the f--k." Other words include "suckers," "damn," "ass," "hell," "goddamn," and "crap."

  • consumerism false3

    Consumerism: Many logos and brand names are visible, including Apple, 3M, Motorola, Microsoft, TripAdvisor, Snyder's pretzels, Dell, BlackBerry, iPhone, Oreo, Bergdorf, Nissan, Miller Lite, and more.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Some social drinking, but not really to the point of inebriation.