Wine Country is a comedy about six women who have been friends for 20+ years getting together to celebrate their friend Rebecca's 50th birthday. The movie stars Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Paula Pell, Emily Spivey, Rachel Dratch, Ana Gasteyer, Tina Fey, and Jason Schwartzman and is directed by Amy Poehler.
This film is like a super group getting together. Comedians who are so funny and talented on their own lending their talents to a group is such a blast to watch. I love the camaraderie and obvious real chemistry these actresses bring to the screen.
Though, Wine Country is a lot like those movies we all used to make with our best friends in the backyard. There's a lot of what feels like inside jokes and may alienate an outsider. The legitimate 20 year friendships between these women is palpable, but we as the audience are kept at arms length while they amuse themselves for a few beats and in a few scenes. It's the characters that draw us back in after these brief asides to themselves.
I love a wild card. Paula Pell plays the wild card, Val. She puts herself out there with confidence and kindness. Her hopes get dashed with someone who doesn't understand her needs because Val only knows how to express a selflessness. Her jokes mask her inner pain. She's grounded even as she implausibly, but hilariously runs down a street and falls down a hill.
I also love an actor who gets to play against type. Ana Gasteyer is usually relegated to the wild card, but here she plays the driven career woman, Catherine. It's a really grounded performance for her and while her part is mostly her running off to answer her phone or giving orders to her agents, she gets really good moments of subtlety that she's usually not afforded. Though, these moments often happen in the midst of Tina Fey's caretaker of the property, Tammy, getting Catherine to eat and drink something disgusting.
I laughed really hard and the filmmaking is assured. There's really not much more one can ask for from Amy Poehler in the director's chair. As impeccable as her timing is in front of the camera, she has a keen sense on where the joke is from behind the camera as well.
I feel this is a film you can watch with mom this weekend, as long as she's cool with a few f-bombs and a brief scene of nudity. It's also a late night comedy to put on when you need something to just relax with and enjoy like a good glass of wine... I assume. I don't care for wine myself, which is why I loved the jokes about its pretentiousness. Catch this one on Netflix now.