The Big Year

MPAA Rated – PG
It’s 1:40 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

The Big Year
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Owen Wilson, Steve Martin, Jack Black
MPAA Rated: PG
Released By: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Release Date: January 31, 2012
Kiddie Movie: It’s safe for them, but not too funny.
Date Movie: My wife fell asleep, but thought the parts she was awake for were okay.
Gratuitous Sex: Some talk and hints but no one gets it on.
Gratuitous Violence: Just some slapstick, birding violence.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Chuckles.
Memorable Scene: There is a touching scene with Brad and his dad.
Memorable Quote: Nothing really.
Directed By: David Frankel
Cool Things About the Blu-ray: “The Bird Migration” featurette about the making of what kind of cool.

It’s a movie that has three, comedic powerhouses in the likes of Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson. It’s a movie that is ripe for making fun of a culture many might find odd – namely birding. It’s a movie that’s rated PG? Uh oh. It’s “The Big Year.”  Okay, maybe not that big of an “Uh oh,” but an “Uh oh,” none-the-less.

So, it turns out a “Big Year” in the birding world has to do with an informal competition among birders (people who like to spot birds), in trying to spot the most species of bird in a period of time.  For our movie, the lead Big Year-er is Kenny Bostick (Owen Wilson).  For our movie we have two other main characters, Brad (Jack Black) and Stu (Steve Martin). Brad is in a dead-end, no fun job, Stu is the elder statesman of a company and looking to retire, and Kenny is a lost soul whose relationships always fall apart because he likes birds.

And so it’s a new year, and for a movie length we get to see our three birders travel the countryside in search of birds, and the competition is fierce.  Yup, things start out kind of calm, with the birders calling a magical phone number telling them where the next, magical sighting seems to be, and they all flock to the various locals. They are cordial, nice even, until it starts to come out that they are trying to get the Big Year record, currently held by Kenny.  Kenny, of course, doesn’t like this, and some trickery starts to happen.  And all along hilarity is supposed to ensue, or at least lessons about life.

Here’s the thing – I felt like “The Big Year” wanted so much to be like a mockumentary about birders, kind of like the movie “Best in Show,” but sadly it tried to keep things a little too nice, namely the PG rating, to push the funny to the next level, which is too bad because Wilson, Black, and Martin do their best to be their funny best – it’s just the movie can’t get there.

It’s not that I didn’t like “The Big Year,” because I sort of did, but I just wanted more.  It was a nice enough movie to hang out on a couch and relax for an evening, and it’s kid safe if you want them around, but don’t expect a lot of hilarity, just some chuckles along the way to find out who actually has the “big year.” 2 ½ stars out of 5.

As far as the Blu-ray, as a lot of birding is scenic-oriented, it looks beautiful, and is beautifully shot, so it will look great on your big-screen.  The deleted scenes are probably better off deleted, the gag reel isn’t that funny (I’m finding that most movie-people can’t put together a decent gag reel), but if you do want a nice explanation of how the movie was made, it does have a great featurette called “The Bird Migration” to help along.

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

Baby Mama

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:39 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Baby Mama
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Steve Martin, Sigourney Weaver, Greg Kinnear, Dax Shepard, Maura Tierney
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Kiddie Movie: They will be bored and you will probably have to answer where babies actually come from.
Date Movie: It’s a 5 Star movie on The Dudette Scale.
Gratuitous Sex: Cleavage, talk, and pushed up boobies are all you will get.
Gratuitous Violence: Umm, no.
Action: Umm, no again.
Laughs: Probably more for the dudettes who can understand it more than us dudes.
Memorable Scene: The shower scene (Dudes, it’s not what you instantly put into your head).
Memorable Quote: “My avatar is dressed like a whore!”
Directed By: Michael McCullers

I saw “Baby Mama” in the theater, and even though this movie screamed dudette-flick, I enjoyed it. The weird thing is that as I watched the DVD, pretty much everything I thought in the theater crept back into my head, and you know what? I still liked it.

“Baby Mama” is a tough movie to review, but not because of the content but maybe just because I see too many movies. The reason I say that is because as the movie starts out, I was buying the entire process, but the movie shifted to “let’s put in a twist” and then “make the ending obvious mode.” I was already set with the original “obvious ending mode,” but I pretty much hated the one the movie finished with. I suppose we’ll start with the basic story, first…

Tina Fey, she of “Saturday Night Live,” “30 Rock,” and “Mean Girls” fame plays Kate. Kate is a 37 year old business woman who has given up love and children for her career, and although she’s not looking for love, she now wants a baby. Unfortunately for Kate she is cursed with a T-shaped uterus, which I guess means it is nearly impossible for her to conceive a baby, even when she was going the sperm donor/in vitro route. Adoption isn’t an option for her, either, so she ends up looking for a surrogate mother with the help of Chaffee Bicknell (Sigourney Weaver) and her surrogate agency. Enter Angie (Amy Pohler) and Carl (Dax Shepard), two, over-the-top, for no better way to put it, white trash folks, looking for a paycheck. Angie agrees to have Kate’s baby, Angie and Carl break up so Angie moves in with Kate, and we now have a white trash girl living with a female executive, but they both have a lot they can learn from each other, especially Kate as she finds a new man, Rob (Greg Kinnear), while Angie, well, she needs to learn some basic manners and how to sing.

Angie and Kate are bonding as Angie moves along in her pregnancy, and for me the new love interest and Kate’s over-aggressive mother were fun enough, but suddenly Michael McCullers (he wrote and directed the movie), I guess, felt the movie needed some kind of diabolical turn to mix things up. I didn’t need mixing up, and once the mixing up happened I instantly knew how this movie was going to end.

Now that might sound a bit obscure, but I really hate to give this movie away by saying anything else, thus ruining it for most of you, the casual movie-goer. Ughh, I so want to give it away!!!!

So let me get to the good and ignore the bad; Tina Fey and Amy Pohler were fantastic as polar opposites actually needing each other and letting their bond as baby mama and surrogate mama grow. Hooray! Sigourney Weaver was great as the creepy, overly fertile Chaffee Bicknell. And the person who made me crack up the most was Steve Martin as Barry, the hippie/guru/wanting his new store to have the “essence of a shell he found on the beach while he was walking” man. So as far as star-power goes, I’ve got to recommend “Baby Mama,” even for the dudes. For me, well, I was just disappointed the film folks felt they needed to “stir-up” the original story.

Let’s see, me, being disappointed in the ending story, I’m giving the movie 2 ½ stars, but on “The Dudette” scale the movie is probably the perfect length with an uber-happy ending for 5 stars on that scale. I’ll average them together and round up because I loved Steve Martin’s character and Tina Fey’s slutty outfit therefore leaving “Baby Mama” with 4 stars out of 5.

For you dudettes out there, especially those that are mama’s, go ahead and round up your dudette friends and have a dudette DVD viewing party, leaving the kids with your dude, and for you dudes out there, “Baby Mama” isn’t that horrible, and just remember payback can be a bitch when you rent “Iron Man”!

As far as the DVD goes, I’m still in the dark ages, without a Blu-Ray player, so I couldn’t partake in cooler things like getting insights into scenes instantly, without stopping the movie, or having to listen to the entire commentary, and fine, as much as I liked the movie, I don’t think I would be creating clips, “My Scenes” as they would be on the Hi-Def side, but on the standard DVD side, I have to say I was happier with the actual ending, rather than the alternate ending, there were a couple of quick, “Hey, this is how this movie ended up being made!” clips, but I have to say that there were a couple of deleted scenes, that although I can understand why they were deleted, they were funny as hell. Do your self a favor and at least watch the deleted scenes.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!