Thursday, February 2, 2012
Trust Movies is glad -- for the result, while no ground-breaker or record-setter in any category, remains a very pleasant comedy with enough charm and laughs to entertain for its 100 painless minutes. Plus, it gives those of us who know little about bird-watching the opportunity to understand a bit of its quiet, though colorful, allure.
David Frankel (shown at left, of Marley and Me and The Devil Wears Prada) and written by Mark Obmascik (from his book of the same name) and Howard Franklin, the movie, which takes place over approximately one year, details the trials of three bird-lovers who hope to win the award for spotting the most rare birds within a single year. This means hopping from one part of our vast country to the other -- and even abroad -- to see and/or hear the song of the birds in question. Interestingly, this contest proceeds on the honor system, something that appears to have practically died out in the western world. (In the eastern? Forget it. Honor just means you can kill your sister for her infraction of being human.)
Owen Wilson (above, as the guy who already holds the crown for bird-spotting), Steve Martin (below, right) and Jack Black (below, left), it should be clear that we are in for some fun -- though all three of these fine performers, while exhibiting the stuff we have come to enjoy and expect from them, keep their worst habits in check, playing instead for some subtlety and humanity. Their characters (and their lives) are a bit more complicated than is necessary for mainstream. This makes the movie perhaps less "riotous" but a lot more bearable.
JoBeth Williams, Rosamund Pike (below) and Rashida Jones -- do more thsn enough with what they are given.