The Big Year

Bottom Line: Full of quiet goofiness and sweet moments, this flick about birdwatching is better than you expect.

The Gist: Three passionate birdwatchers set out separately to break the record of the most birds seen in a calendar year. A rich executive trying to retire (Steve Martin), a young loser trying to do something with his life (Jack Black), and a cocky champion defending his title (Owen Wilson) all follow the same trail of blue breasted pipers and pink footed geese.

The Verdict: Watch it. In equal parts funny and touching, the film centers on birdwatching, but could really be about any passion. The central question is how far one will go to accomplish a goal and what one is willing to lose in integrity and family ties. While passion is a good thing, taken too far, the winner might find the record is all he has in life and the losers might be the real winners.

Be Aware: Rated PG for some light language and implied sensuality (between a married couple, mildly shown). Appropriate for grade schoolers, in fact, my three children loved it.