THE BIG YEAR “Hey, look! It’s our careers! They’re nosediving!”

A FAT GUY, an old fart, and a self-absorbed pretty boy go on a year-long competitive bird-watching expedition. I know that sounds like a setup for a particularly bad joke, but the joke's on you, as it's the plot of the movie The Big Year, a leading contender for the worst comedy of 2011.

Jack Black, Steve Martin, and Owen Wilson star as travelling ornithologists. Black's a computer tech, Martin's a newly retired CEO, and both are vying to spot the largest personal number of avian species in North America. Wilson holds the record, and he's willing to let his third marriage die to defend it. Wackiness threatens to ensue as all three men wrestle with their competitive natures and try to keep from throwing their lives away.

The Big Year is directed by the guy who made Marley & Me. Here he's adapting a nonfiction book, except a title card claims the story is true except for the facts. If that's the case, next time he should try replacing the truth with humor rather than schmaltzy life lessons. This movie is about as fun to watch as getting pigeon shit in your eye.