Film & Television

‘Wine Country’: Amy Poehler Takes Her BFFs to Napa

Secondary characters, like Fey’s Tammy, add some interest. At first, she is brusque and flatly cynical. “You just have to talk to each other all weekend and drink a lot of wine,” she tells the women. “What could go wrong?” Later, she serves as a counselor to individual members of the group, warning against any conversation that begins with the rhetorical question “Can I say something?” Nothing but trouble will follow, she warns.

A houseboy/tour guide/paella chef shows up in the form of Jason Schwartzman, launching another repeated gag. Whenever anyone questions his being there, they’re told, “He comes with the house.” He does give one lonely lady (or possibly two) some much-needed personal attention. But, his presence in general is more of a distraction than not. On the other hand, one of the film’s most interesting scenes occurs when the magnificent (multi-Tony and Emmy-winner) Cherry Jones briefly holds court as a Tarot card reader hired by Abby. As she works her way around the group, her predictions become more and more dire. Finally, she nearly screams at them to “Get over your shit, because it is later than you think!” This is followed by the brisk request “That’ll be $450, please.”

Co-writer Cackowski makes the most of her cameo as the steward of an organic vineyard. All the trips to the vineyards are genuinely funny. The women aren’t interested in tasting so much as ingesting. They interact with several snooty oenophiles along the way.

“What do you taste?” asks one gentleman, assuring them, “There are no wrong answers.”

“Canned peaches?” guesses Rebecca.


Another humorous sequence follows the women to an art show of Val’s crush, a waitress named Jade (Maya Erskine). All of her work focuses on portraits of The Nanny’s Fran Drescher, which her young audience devours with awe and pseudo-intellectual observations. Val and her cohorts see through the millennial pretensions pretty quickly and verbally attack the crowd, only to be recorded on smart phones and posted to who-knows-where. The entire confrontation would be satisfying were it not mistaken for some form of intergenerational performance art. The very silliness of the scene is a welcome break — especially when poor Val accidentally purchases one of Jade’s Dreschers (for several hundred dollars).

Wine Country ends amiably enough. After several drunken confessions, a handful of injuries, and a trip to an emergency room, the women who need to grow do so with the full support of their friends. The trip has been a success, despite “The things we say now.” As more than one woman asserts, they are “so lucky” to have each other.

In the last several years, we’ve seen a good number of girlfriend-power movies. However, they tend to celebrate the younger (Bridesmaids, Girls Trip) or the already older (Book Club, the upcoming Poms). I applaud Poehler and her team for delivering a buddy movie that focuses on women who are in between the two. Hopefully, it will pave the way for more (and maybe even better ones).

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  • LK May 23, 2019 at 7:53 am

    Yes, women need and should cherish their female friends. But, do they have to get drunk to do it? Just another example of media encouraging excess alcohol use among women.