Alexander Payne (2004)

15 Certificate


Our Score
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 Election and the overly bleak About Schmidt - 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

Miles Raymond Paul Giamatti
Jack Lopate Thomas Haden Church
Maya Virginia Madsen
Stephanie Sandra Oh
Miles's mother Marylouise Burke
Victoria Jessica Hecht
Cammi Missy Doty
Cammi's husband M C Gainey
Christine Erganian Alysia Reiner
Mrs Erganian Shaké Toukhmanian
Director Alexander Payne
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: 20th Century FoxGuidance: Swearing, sex scenes and nudity. Available on: video, DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 28 Jan 2005
Drama Comedy