Old friends, barrels of wine, a banner birthday and several days of nothing but each other’s company, what could possibly go wrong? With the legendary comedy line-up of Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, Tina Fey, Paula Pell, Ana Gasteyer and Emily Spivey, it’s an SNL reunion mixed with alcohol infused mid-life crises. Wine Country is Poehler’s feature directorial debut and with a comedy background that any actor would envy, expectations are high.
This film comes to you from a group of women who have probably collectively been entertaining audiences for over a century and lucky for the film, these are some of the most consistent comediennes you could wish for. Before diving straight into the female side of things, Jason Schwartzman’s performance as Devon has to be acknowledged, while his character is definitely not someone you’d ever want to get stuck on vacation with, he does a brilliant job supporting the rest of the cast and creating plenty of opportunities for eye-rolls and sarcastic jabs.
Too often recently, comedies fall foul of putting all their best and funniest moments in their trailers, leaving the rest of the feature to go firmly downhill, but Wine Country is an exception, with a great trailer and plenty more to offer in its 103 minutes; special mention to the fact that even though it was in the trailer, watching Maya Rudolph fall off a piano, doesn’t get old. The comedy is perfectly timed and leaves no lulls to be found, with the right level of drama to not extend to ridiculous overexaggerated fights, but plenty of bitching behind each other’s backs. It may sound slightly insulting, but it’s intended as a compliment, that Wine Country has the ideal amount of silly and stupid, it fully wades into the territory then pulls back before it reaches the land of idiotic, keeping a balance of physical and spoken comedy, for an utterly consistent, entertaining film for the entire runtime.
Each of the women involved have taken part (either writing or acting) in some pretty outlandish SNL sketches in their time but Wine Country gives a much more subdued kind of comedy, yes there are people getting drunk and falling off things but it never goes too far. It’s tough to single out one of these actresses because they work so well as an ensemble but the addition of Tina Fey’s Tammy as the outsider adds some very memorable moments and her advice of never getting into a conversation that begins “Can I just say something”, are wise words to live by. With Netflix’s constant, never-ending stream of content and the film having been released 2 weeks ago, it’s easy for it to get lost in the fray but if you’re looking for a laid-back evening, this is the perfect choice.