I saw this movie again recently.
Miles (played by Paul Giamatti) is a San Diego schoolteacher, a dedicated wine buff and an unpublished novelist. He is deeply upset by the breakup of his marriage, but is trying valiantly to get on with his life. His long-time friend Jack (by Thomas Haden Church) is about to get married, so they take a bachelor’s trip to the Californian wine country for the week prior to the wedding. Miles wants to take the chance to learn more about pinot noir, whereas Jack, on his “bachelor week”, is determined to get laid before he settles down. They meet Stephanie (by Sandra Oh) who works at a winery and her friend Maya (by Virginia Madsen) a divorced waitress and Jack arranges a double date. Throughout the week we watch the development of their relationships and interactions, we see a lot of the Californian wine country and learn more about all four of these characters. They are all real – all lonely, with issues, needs and challenges – and whilst they also all have very real things you will just “hate” about them, they are mostly endearing one way or another – perhaps with the exception of shallow and selfish Jack – who I found excruciatingly annoying and often thought the friendship and loyalty shown by the long-suffering Miles was far beyond reasonable.
The movie itself is good, because it’s real. The performances (particularly Paul Giamatti) are good and I loved the roles of both women – good, strong and forthright. There is a thread of comedy all the way through, but as I did, you will possibly also feel like punching Jack long before the end! It is worth seeing.
Made in 2005. Directed by Alexander Payne.