FBMR - Sideways
Film-Buff Movie Reviews

SIDEWAYS (2004) ***1/2

What a treat! What a great little movie! The elements that made this film as good as it was were the clever, snappy writing and the wonderful performances. As a whole, I wouldnít necessarily say that itís worthy of winning the Best Picture Oscar, but it definitely has a good chance for adapted screenplay. It was a smart and funny buddy pic/romantic comedy. It had me laughing out loud a lot. However, on the romantic side, it didnít have the same effect on me as some other films of that genre Ö really rooting for the couple, and being very emotionally involved when the conflict is introduced like I was with WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, and THE WEDDING SINGER, for example.

Miles (Paul Giamatti) and Jack (Thomas Haden Church), two former college roommates, take a week-long trip up to Wine Country in California, before Jack is to be married on the Saturday. Itís Jackís last hurrah, last chance at ďfreedomĒ, and a chance for Miles to enlighten his friend on the subtleties of wine tasting and appreciation. Jack wanted to get laid. Jack wants to get Miles laid. Miles wants to taste some fine wine, have some good food, and play some golf with his buddy. Even when a local waitress and long-time acquaintance shows interest in Miles, heís a neurotic mess. Jack, on the other hand, is the smooth-talking, cheesy, yet somehow endearing, sleazy, stereotypical male.

Director, Alexander Payne, seems to also have a strange desire to include nudity in his films, yet not have it be tremendously pleasing or sexy. There is another shocker in this film, right up there with Kathy Batesí hot-tub scene in ABOUT SCHMIDT.

And the amount of wine that is consumed in this movie Ö wow! I donít think Iíve ever seen a movie that has people drinking as much wine, as often, as this movie (including all three GODFATHERS, and MOONSTRUCK). It made me wish that I liked wine, so I could go and have a drink after the movie. I had a beer instead.