I love the fact that this movie exists, and that it’s a celebration of enduring friendship through ups and downs and across decades without jealousy or competition. I love that it shines a light not only on comedy goddesses but also on female characters as they navigate the realities of reaching middle age. And there are indeed moments of inspired lunacy and daring, raunchy humour. The talent amassed here is so impressive.
It is as warm and comfortable as a cashmere blanket draped around one’s shoulders by a considerate friend.
The stars’ second-nature chemistry is appealing.
In honour of Rebecca’s 50th birthday, Abby plans a scenic Napa getaway with their best, longtime friends. Workaholic Catherine, post-op Val, homebody Jenny, and weary mom Naomi are equally sold on the chance to relax and reconnect. Yet as the alcohol flows, real world uncertainties intrude on the punchlines and gossip, and the women begin questioning their friendships and futures.
There’s not a lot of plot at play in Wine Country, which is not a bad thing. We’re trusted to just hang out with the women as they drink and riff off each other, it’s a blast. There’s an engaging, hard-to-fake chemistry between the group and while scenes often have a naturalistic tone, there’s a refreshing lack of indulgence, something that can afflict comedies populated by real-life friends. It’s loose, yet disciplined, avoiding rambling scenes of improv.
This film offers all engaging comedians in a comedy inspired by the real-life vacations these ladies have taken together. The “Saturday Night Live” veterans are all longtime friends, connected by comedy, who’ve shared trips like the one depicted here. Dratch’s actual 50th birthday prompted a group jaunt to Napa, so her character’s 50th birthday inspires the on-screen antics. But they’re all playing versions of themselves: Poehler, directing her first feature film and co-starring as the trip’s bossy organizer, has acknowledged that she’s the one who always keeps the others on schedule. Rudolph, who has four kids in real life with longtime partner Paul Thomas Anderson, plays a character who’s happy to have a break from her four kids. Spivey and Liz Cackowski, (who has a brief, amusing role as an uptight sommelier), both former “SNL” writers and members of this crew, wrote the script.
USA 2019, 103 min, rated M (coarse language)
Directed by Amy Poehler
Starring Amy Poehler, Tina Pey, Rachel Dratch, Maya Rudolph, Ana Gasteyer, Paula Pell & Emily Spivey