The Reel Review

D+

Wine Country is the Amy Poehler-directed Netflix buddy flick about lifelong friends forced to confront their own personal issues when they gather in California’s Napa Valley to celebrate their friend’s 50th birthday. It stars a slew of past Saturday Night Live cast members and writers and was inspired by an actual trip the group took to celebrate Rachel Dratch’s birthday. Poehler plays the control-freak trip organizer, with Ana Gasteyer as the obsessive workaholic, Maya Rudolph as the mom facing an uncertain medical diagnosis, etc.

The film feels a lot less like a movie than it does a super laid back, unfocused, hour and a half long (and at times tedious) adlib. While it’s fun for a few minutes to see the old SNL gang reunited, and there are a handful of chuckles, the flimsy story feels awkward and contrived and just isn’t funny – sort of like those throwaway skits that typically end up in SNL’s last 30 minutes. Given such a talented crew, we expected so much more. Hell, just an interview with the cast would have been funnier than this. Boo.

REEL FACTS

Wine Country is Amy Poehler’s film directoral debut

• Because of schedule conflicts, Tina Fey played the small role as the owner of the rental house where the friends stay.

• Five of Wine Country’s stars (Rachel Dratch, Tina Fey, Ana Gasteyer, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph) were SNL cast members. Two (Paula Pell and Emily Spivey) were show writers.

 

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