“Wine Country” Review by Alex Blake

Nathan was out of town for the weekend. So, I settled in with Apothic’s finest bottle of rose and Home Run Inn’s most delectable frozen pizza to enjoy this one on my own. Amy Poehler’s directorial debut follows a group of six friends who reunite for a trip to Napa to celebrate one of the friends 50th birthday. I am going to start with my complaints and then focus on the aspect of this film that I really loved.

In general, the writing of this film was pretty lackluster. The script that Liz Cackowski and Emily Spivey wrote really didn’t have as many laughs as you would expect from this cast of women. I was a bit disappointed to find out that Amy Poehler was not involved in the writing. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of dick jokes and one-liners to go around. However, in general, this script felt like a bit of a waste on such a great ensemble of female comedians. It wasn’t just the writing that bothered me though. It was also the construction of the characters. Each and every character depended on a typical female film trope. There was the control freak, the workaholic, the zany one, the realistic one, the one who didn’t want to be there, and the overworked mom. Again, for the talent that was cast, it felt like a lot more could have been done with these brilliant women. With that being said, the performances themselves were pretty great.

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I think part of my issue with this film is that it was written specifically for an older audience. That leads to a lot of millennial shaming. There was one character in particular and one scene in particular that depended very heavily on untrue millennial stereotypes. In this film, millennials were depicted as an out of touch and self-absorbed generation. Now that’s not to say that there aren’t individuals of the millennial generation that act that way. However, it has been shown that millennials are actually one of the more politically engaged and aware generations. Again, it just felt like cheap writing and an even cheaper shot at a generation that heavily supports the film industry and the platform on which this film was released.

My last major gripe with this film was the fact that the storyline was very surface level. Throughout the film you can feel the tension brew between different characters. You can tell that each character has a history with others, but that aspect of their relationships is never explored. There is a breaking point for the group as a whole. But, again, it is a moment where you are expecting more and it just never comes. That seemed to be a recurring problem for me throughout the film. I just kept waiting for anything significant to happen to propel the story forward, and that moment never really came.

As I promised, there was an aspect of the film I did really enjoy. It did a really good job of depicting the intimacy and complexity of female friendships. As I was watching this, I had the urge to text my friends and make plans. The movie did a really good job of highlighting the importance of female friendship in the scope of women’s busy lives. We may all get wrapped up in our jobs, our marriages, our children, and the drama of day to day life. But, I can speak from personal experience, it’s nice knowing that no matter what is going on I know my friends will always be there. So, ladies, pack your bags, tell your partners you have plans, and I will start chilling the rose.

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