Saturday, May 2, 2009

Bottle Shock

"Bottle Shock" is as appealing as a crushed grape. It's a corny, cliche piece about when, in 1976, a Californian vineyard topped a ton of French wines. The actual competition is shown in very little detail, perhaps a 3 minute scene. The rest of the movie is overcooked. The music is constantly an annoyance, especially in the scenes in France where we can be sure that the American portion of the cast isn't going to ruin it. Here, Steven Spurrier (Alan Rickman), an owner of a small, drafty French wine shop, is told to expand his business by a neighboring owner (Dennis Farina). He settles on gathering American wines to hold a U.S.A. vs. France faceoff. He goes to America, and the movie gets laughably bad. Bill Pullman and Chris Pine play a father and son combo of winemakers. Pine's a slacker, replete with surfer hair and a love for Woodstock. Pullman plays an expressive man, but he's too subtle or too overbearing to capture any moments of realism. Oh, and there's an intern named Sam (Rachel Taylor), who predictably attracts Pine's eye as well as that of Freddy Rodriguez. He's there to set up racially "powerful" scenes. He's also there to deliver a monologue practically identical to the one that Virginia Madsen gives in "Sideways." Subplot: Rodriguez makes secretive wine... and it's good! Pullman ain't too happy about this, since he's a masochistic alcoholic who doesn't want any help. He's eventually made out (however unintentionally) to look like an amateur, since he doesn't know that Chardonnay turns brown when deoxygenated and he throws out tons of it. Add to the fact that Pullman doesn't really give much to his performance. I also should add that, as my friend said,the editing detracts entirely from the film. Miller and Dan O'Brien cut way too much, so much that, as my friend said, "it's at times impossible to concentrate on the scene at hand." Plus, how many crane shots of the vineyard do we need here? What I'm saying is that this film is devoid of flavor in almost all fields. Rickman is alright, but he's the only pro. It's a poorly made and executed movie off of a subject that could have elicited at least something pretty decent. D

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