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The Big Year

October 14, 2011

Every year, millions of upper-middle-class people fall victim to ennui, forced to suffer in silence as they endure vague dissatisfaction with their current homes, jobs, and relationships and wonder what happened to the fantasies of their youth. Fortunately they have the movies to speak for them, a long tradition of films about finally experiencing all that life and a good credit rating have to offer that includes everything from Sideways to Eat Pray Love to, now, The Big Year, which frames that familiar late-stage awakening against the backdrop of competitive bird-watching.

Not that you’d know it from this trailer, which pushes the whole bird-watching thing to the margins in favor of putting pals Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson through the paces of standard suburbanites-in-the-wild gags and Bucket List shenanigans—because Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson are definitely three buddies who would agree to travel the world together. In addition to that unlikely scenario, this preview also asks you to believe that: a) Steve Martin and Jack Black would share dinner and a meaningful, “what does it all mean?” conversation; b) Rashida Jones would be really into bird-watching enthusiast Jack Black; and c) “From the producers of The Devil Wears Prada and Marley And Me” is something that should be put front and center, as a means of quality assurance. It’s also the kind of trailer where Jack Black utters a line about how everything will be okay so long as there’s not a “freak blizzard,” immediately followed by [implied record scratch] a freak blizzard. See? Even the weather has it out for the upper-middle-class and its slapstick search for self-actualization.