The Big Year

(PG) ★★☆☆☆

An all-star cast has nothing to work with in this diffident attempt at a birding comedy. Divorcee Brad (Jack Black) dreams of besting the birding record-holder, a contractor (Owen Wilson) who once identified 732 separate species in a “big year.” Steve Martin enters the mix as a competitive industrialist. Brad dives headlong into this world, meeting along the way a fellow obsessive played by Rashida Jones. The script’s so muted, though, that it neglects to make the characters any sort of funny.

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By Craig A. Nyman

Since leaving their mark in March with four energetic nights at Cosmopolitan’s Book & Stage, the Los Angeles-based Foster the People have rocketed to stardom. They released their debut album, Torches, in May, and it quickly reached No. 8 on the Billboard 200 with “Pumped Up Kicks” No. 1 on the Rock Songs chart. They played in front of their largest crowd—25,000 screaming fans at Lollapalooza. They recorded a session at Abbey Road Studios and sold out nearly every show while touring the United States and Australia.

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