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This dissection of American social mores is the finest and most perfectly formed movie yet from director Alexander Payne. Middle-aged mates Miles (Paul Giamatti) and Jack (Thomas Haden Church) take a trip to California's wine country to celebrate the latter's upcoming wedding. But Miles's wine-tasting plans get sidelined by Jack's desperation for a last fling and his attempts to set Miles up with an equally grape-savvy waitress (Virginia Madsen). Thanks to astonishing performances from Giamatti (a rumpled bundle of nervous self-loathing), Church (a deliciously deadpan but fading Casanova) and the Oscar-nominated Madsen, Payne's richly rewarding comedy is of the best vintage. Finding a middle ground between his last two films - the explicitly satirical
and the overly bleak
- Payne's gloriously picaresque analysis of midlife crises does exactly as the title suggests. It takes oblique glances at the buddy flick and road movie by skewering both with poignancy, truth and consistent wit to give a fresh vitality to each well-worn genre. It fully deserved every award it received, and a lot more.
Two middle-aged men embark on a wine-tasting tour in California a week before one of them is due to be married. The groom-to-be is determined to persuade his self-hating, embittered friend to loosen up - while also making it clear he intends to cheat on his fiancee before the week is out. Comedy, starring Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen and Sandra Oh.
Cast & Crew
Thomas Haden Church
M C Gainey
20th Century Fox
Swearing, sex scenes and nudity.
video, DVD and Blu-ray
28 Jan 2005
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