Sunday, May 26, 2019

Movie Review: "Wine Country" (2019)

Director: Amy Poehler
Year: 2019
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 43 minutes

A group of longtime friends gets together for a 50th birthday celebration in Napa Valley's wine country.

Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch, and Paula Pell drinking wine in Netflix's "Wine Country"
"So what am I looking at here? High school tennis team, old dance crew, or y'all magically fit in the same pair of pants?" (Image Source)
We don't mean this to be disrespectful, but is Amy Poehler going to become the female version of Adam Sandler in that every few years or so, she gets all her old SNL buddies together for a vacation and then makes a movie wherever they go so it becomes a business expense? Maybe, but more power to her! "Wine Country" is the feature film directorial debut of actress extraordinaire Amy Poehler, who has also directed episodes of the TV shows "Broad City" and "Parks and Recreation." It is written by Liz Cackowski and Emily Spivey, who were both writers on the shows "The Last Man on Earth" and "Saturday Night Live." When a psychologist named Rebecca (Rachel Dratch) is about to celebrate her 50th birthday, her slightly overbearing friend Abby (Amy Poehler) plans a huge birthday bash in Napa for her and all of their old friends. Though the weekend starts out being a grand ol' time, Abby's hectic schedule, the group's past dramas, and each person's present personal issues throw a wrench in the weekend's festivities.
Maya Rudolph singing while on a piano in Netflix's "Wine Country"
"We were sisters in the trenches...the pizza trenches." (Image Source)
Netflix has a habit of producing god-awful comedies ("The Ridiculous 6," "The Week Of," seeing a pattern here?), so when one comes around that's mediocrely good, we'll take it. "Wine Country" offers up what is yet another formulaic comedy about a lifetime milestone. At its core is a solid group of actors including Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, Tina Fey, Ana Gastayer, Paula Pell, and Emily Spivey, who were all either performers or writers on SNL. Like their characters in this film, they are all long-time friends. Their real-life bond allows them to have a believable group dynamic and solid chemistry on-screen. There are times when it feels like much of the dialogue is improvised as each of the ladies riffs off of one another back and forth to see what lands in that particular conversation or scene. Sometimes the comedy worked for us, and other times, it didn't, but overall, this film did offer up a fair share of laughs, though we readily admit we were never rolling on the floor because of our laughter. The story is by-the-book and hits every note we have come to expect from an ensemble comedy like this. It is complete with a big mid-movie drama that leads to a massive blow-up before a climactic resolution where everyone makes up with one another. Some plot threads get started but go nowhere, and others overstay their welcome, but we never once hated watching this comedy, and we appreciate what it has to offer by showing women who are ~50 years old having a raucous, fun time.
Emily Spivey, Paula Pell, Maya Rudolph with big wine glasses and silly glasses in Netflix's "Wine Country"
"If I see a scarecrow, I'm gonna fucking shit my pants." (Image Source)
Netflix's "Wine Country" doesn't offer anything groundbreaking in terms of its story or humor, but if you like the members of the cast and their signature brand of comedy, you may have an enjoyable enough experience to make watching this flick worth your while.

My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 5.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.5/10
RT Rating: 69%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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