Amy Poehler clearly went through her DVD collection before embarking upon her directorial debut Wine Country, as there are hints of everything from Steel Magnolias (1989) and Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe (1991) to Bridesmaids (2011) and Girls Trip (2017) in the bouquet of this friends reunited expedition to California’s wine region of Napa Valley.
Abby (Poehler) has arranged the getaway to help Rebecca (Rachel Dratch) celebrate her 50th birthday with Naomi (Maya Rudolph), Val (Paula Pell), Jenny (Emily Spivey) and Catherine (Ana Gasteyer), who have been her BFFs since they all worked in a Chicago pizzeria in the 1980s.
However, as tarot reader Miss Sunshine (Cherry Jones) reveals, the bonds aren’t as tight as they once were and none of the women can relax and have fun until they have dispensed with the baggage they’ve brought with them.
Spivey and Liz Cackowski’s script leaves plenty of room for improvised banter and emotional epiphanies from the main cast (most of whom are Saturday Night Live alumni), as well as oddball cameos by Tina Fey and Jason Schwartzman.
But, while proceedings open promisingly with a zippy conference call, everything feels a tad too familiar, as the various work/life crises are resolved through vino and tears.