DVD Review: A Birder's Guide to Everything

STUDIO: Screen Media | DIRECTOR: Rob Meyer | CAST: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Alex Wolff, Zandi Holup, Katie Chang, Briana Marin, Ben Kingsley
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 5/27/2014 | PRICE: DVD $24.99
BONUSES: none
SPECS: PG-13 | 86 min. | Comedy | 2.35:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1 | English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

 

Director/co-writer Rob Meyer’s A Birder’s Guide to Everything is a gentle coming-of-age comedy centering on a 15-year-old birder (don’t call them birdwatchers!)

A Birder's Guide to Life movie scene

Tweeting allowed: Kodi Smit-McPhee and Katie Chang in A Birder's Guide to Everything.

David (Kodi Smit-McPhee, Let Me In) recently suffered the loss of his mother with whom he shared his passion for ornithology. As his father prepares to remarry, he and three friends set off on a search for a supposedly extinct duck with the encouragement of a local expert (Ben Kingsley, Hugo).

The performances are charmingly unaffected. Fortunately, the four leads don’t geek-it-up and act like normal kids who happen to be top students. Even a popular girl (Zandi Holup) who manipulates one of the boys (Alex Wolff) into doing her homework avoids bitchy cliches. The presence of Sir Ben adds some weight to the proceedings—he brings real grit to his few scenes.

The rural locations are well photographed even if the filmmakers didn’t find any breathtaking country vistas.

Four young people go on a journey of discovery and discover…themselves. It’s nothing groundbreaking and it certainly doesn’t have the anarchic energy of the classic Stand By Me, but Birder’s Guide is still genial family fare that doesn’t insult the intelligence of its viewers. And it even throws in a briefly flashed female breast.

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About David

David Leopold is an actor, writer and videographer who would take a Sherpa ride up a Tibetan mountain to see an Edwige Feuillère movie.