Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 400-Word Review: Wine Country

Amy Poehler's directorial debut co-stars Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph and Rachel Dratch.

Photo by Colleen Hayes / Netflix

So what am I looking at here?” asks Tammy (Tina Fey), sizing up a group of women who have rented a house for a weekend. “High school tennis team? Old dance crew? You all magically fit in the same pair of pants? What brings us together?”

It’s a loaded joke. When a group of men walks onto screen together, it’s expected; it means that a light comedy is in the offing, and friendship is the topic. No explanation is required.

Such buddy pictures are few and far between, however, when it comes to female friendships, still one of the most underrepresented slices of subject matter in mainstream comedy — and, as the reference to the teen drama “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” indicates, when we do get to see women forging friendships, they’re usually not old enough to vote.

“Wine Country,” directed by (and starring) Amy Poehler, is the refreshing alternative: A film about adult women, figuring out the tricky business of friendship during middle age, with romance and sex serving only as occasional slices of the subject matter. It’s shameful that there aren’t more movies like this.

Fortunately, a full lineup of comic stars turned out for this one. It’s Rebecca’s (Rachel Dratch) 50th birthday, and Abby (Poehler) is determined to arrange a picturesque weekend for their old gang. This in spite of their various grown-up hurdles: Naomi (Maya Rudolph) is worn down by a fleet of hyperactive children, Val (Paula Pell) is perennially unhappy in love, Catherine (Ana Gasteyer) can’t get away from work and Jenny (Emily Spivey) simply hates leaving the house.

Despite the presence of a blunt homeowner (Fey), an invasive hipster chef (Jason Schwartzman) and a condescending psychic (Cherry Jones), things start swimmingly. As the alcohol, proximity and itinerary take hold, however, the keep-it-together veneers of adulthood start to fade; before long, the women are at each other’s throats.

“Wine Country,” with a script from Spivey and Liz Cackowski, is remarkable for its honesty: There are no fanciful, wacky set pieces here, and certainly no hacky, obvious gags. (It stands in sharp contrast to another new release, “Poms,” in that regard.) This is an effective comedy, but it’s also a compellingly true look at the way we interact with one another.

Don’t feel like you’re showing up for a heart-to-heart chat, though. The lineup of comedy talent in “Wine Country” is impeccable. You’re gonna laugh.

My Rating: 7/10

"Wine Country" is now streaming on Netflix.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

First-Of-Its-Kind Flower Truck Blooms in Pittsburgh

Customers are able to pick their own bouquet from the collection of fresh stems aboard Victoria Miess's mobile, mint green mini-truck.

All the County Fairs Happening This Summer in Western PA

Mark your calendars. There are 35 county fairs in western Pennsylvania this summer.

2019 Pittsburgh Area Fireworks: Where & When to Watch Them

This booming list of fireworks displays can help you get your fill of patriotism during the long holiday week.

What to Do with an Old Bank? Redecorate with Part of a Plane

The former PNC Bank in West View is now a community resource center with some very unique features.

The 400-Word Review: The Last Black Man in San Francisco

This arresting debut feature about displacement by the Bay is one of the year's best films.

Songs of Steel for a Summer in Pittsburgh

Love PGH Music Month has formed just in time for a summer filled with great shows.

You Could Be in a Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman Film

Want to be in a movie alongside some top celebrities? This is your chance!

Food, Beer and Games at the Crafty Jackalope

The popular Bridgeville bar serves its neighborhood well.

Can't Miss Concerts in Pittsburgh in July

This month's lineup includes Belle and Sebastian, Kurt Vile and actor-turned-rockstar Billy Bob Thornton and his band The Boxmasters.

Recommended Pittsburgh Eating: 3 Recent Dishes I Loved

PM dining critic Hal B. Klein is eating seasonal salads, sushi and sandwiches.

Transit May Improve Thanks to New Technology

Public transit users may luck out if Port Authority’s wristband ticketing service experiment goes well.

The 400-Word Review: Toy Story 4

Pixar's signature series comes up with an enjoyable fourth chapter. Just don't set your expectations too high.

The Latest Restaurant Openings In Pittsburgh

We say hello to three new Galley Group concepts, plus Con Alma, Over Eden and Inner Groove Brewing.

The Business of Building Cookie Table Bridges

After her cookie table bridges proved to be a hit at her own wedding, a Pittsburgh bride has taken her idea to the next level.

All You Need to Know About Fireworks in Pennsylvania

With new state fireworks laws in place, Pennsylvanians will get a little more freedom to celebrate this Fourth of July.