This movie was pretty funny…for a movie about mid-life crises. I mean seriously, I hope my life never gets as depressing as Miles’ or Jack’s. Of course Jack’s occupation is a big key to why he’s having the crisis…being an actor isn’t easy unless you make it big. Although I do appreciate the irony (at least I think it’s ironic) that Jack’s biggest role was as a Doctor on a soap opera, when in real life, Thomas Hayden Church’s biggest (or at least the thing everyone remembers him for) is the janitor on “Wings” (TV Series …. Lowell Mather …. 1990-1995). Actually both of their occupations can wind up being really depressing around the age of 40. If an actor doesn’t have regular acting jobs or an aspiring writer can’t get his work published, they really begin to question why they’re here. Of course that’s just the plot of the movie. The real stars are Santa Barbara’s Wine Country and the music. I mean, the cinematography is just incredible and it’s great to see a movie that doesn’t need foreign locations to sell it. The music was this cool jazz mix that punctuated the story perfectly. Of course I had problems with the story being all about infidelity, but there were still some pretty funny stuff. Like when Miles finds out that his ex-wife remarried and is coming to the wedding, he charges down a hill with a bottle of wine. I mean, just the desperation with which he does it (his character has already been established as really timid and afraid to take risks) is hilarious. But of course my favorite line was Thomas Hayden Church talking about running through an ostrich farm naked. “Those #@%!ers are mean!” Well I guess it’s the context, but I thought it was hilarious.
Wonderful performances by all four leads, including Paul Giamatti and Virginia Madsen. Now before I continue I have to preface these comments with the fact that I heard about her performance before I saw the movie, so what I saw just enhanced the comments in a positive way. Anyways, I really liked the relationship and the way it evolved with respect to the overall story. I just loved the porch scene where Miles (Giamatti) and Maya (Madsen) tell each other why they fell in love with Wine Country and that snobby habit of wine-tasting.
But you know, the whole movie was kind of a bittersweet mix of comedy and drama. On the one hand, you’ve got Miles as this chronically-depressed person who starts to have a beautiful relationship with someone (after being divorced for 2 years) and then his best friend goes and screws it up by having a mid-life crisis by trying to have as many pre-marital infidelities as possible. I don’t know. I guess I just didn’t get what I expected from the film. So yeah, go check it out. Or at least pick up the soundtrack…yeah that was pretty good.