When I say no spoilers with WINE COUNTRY, I have to ask myself this question: are there really spoilers in a film about women around the age of 50 just drinking wine, making jokes that land completely flat on their face, and bitching about their youth and current lives for an hour and 40 minutes? No, there really isn’t. As a critic, and as a male, I try to find the value in all movies of all genres. There are chick flicks that I enjoy, and there are action films that I hate, so other than Star Wars, Spielberg, and Tarantino, I don’t feel that I am that biased when it comes to reviewing movies (you can argue with me in a private chat). In my reviews, I always try to say “this movie is for you because of this, this, and this” or “stay away because of this, this, and so and so” but what I truly hate doing is putting a specific movie into two very easy, yet distinct (and possibly controversial) categories: “only if you are a male you are going to love/hate this movie” or “only if you are a women are you going to love/hate this movie.”
If I’ve “triggered” you with that statement, I truly am sorry, but follow along with me in that I do have a point to all this. We can debate the whole gender/sex issue another time. I generally like anyone as long as their heart and attitude are in the right place. No biases or preconceived notions from me. If you are a good person, then I have the up most respect for you, no matter the age, race, gender, sex, etc. etc. etc. The point I’m trying to make is this: you are probably only going to like Wine Country if you are a woman. And I hate saying that. But to me, it feels true and right when I replay this awful film in my mind. Because I truly did not get one minute of it. Throughout the whole hour and 40 minutes of this absolute abysmal slog fest, I did not once laugh out loud, I rolled my eyes about 100 times, and I was wondering how and couldn’t fucking believe that this script was green-lit for the cameras in the first place. The answer I came up with was simple, “I probably would’ve loved this if I was a woman.”
And I am going to stand by that statement, for several reasons. I am going to give two examples from two recent Netflix films where one could say that you would only enjoy them if you were a woman. I almost thought that the recent Netflix film Someone Great (which is currently on my worst of list but I don’t suspect it will be there by the end of the year) was one of those movies, but then the movie got better with a strong third act that contained a really moving dialogue rich speech from Gina Rodriguez that made me ponder life in general. Even though I didn’t ultimately like the film, I, as a man, still got something out of it. Same goes for Unicorn Store (which, thanks to Wine Country, just got kicked off my top ten worst list of the year), halfway through the movie I thought the movie was a little too weird and quirky for my taste, but then Brie Larson’s budding relationship with Mamoudou Athie’s character came in half way thru the film, and the acting in general and Brie Larson’s eye for the camera, made me get a little something out of it even though I ended up not liking it all too much and would probably never watch it again.
I did not get one thing out of Wine Country. I did not get laughter. I did not get insight. I was bored to tears. I did not care about any of the characters. The one male character in the movie, played by Jason Schwartzman, literally had no usefulness , was there for only for a paycheck and his comedic talents were wasted as when he was on screen he was just slapping a raw squid more than half the film (you’ll see). And I started to think about if me and a group of my male friends were to watch this movie alone and then maybe my wife and a group of her friends watched the movie alone, which target group would the filmmakers and Netflix want to talk to to get the best feedback possible. The answer is easy. After the film was done, I went back to a couple of parts of memorable bad jokes that I just didn’t laugh at and wondered, would I have laughed at this if I was a woman and if I was a woman of older age would I relate to the joke better? The answer to all my questions are basically yes at this point.
I’m not trying to be controversial at all. I’m not trying to stir up shit. I’m not trying to be an asshole. I’m trying to prove not just to you, but to myself that when I say this movie is only meant for women and would only be liked by women, that I know I’m telling the truth. I think about every single male friend that I know, and I can’t imagine one of them liking this. I imagine them all the same as me: bored to tears, not laughing, thinking about other female centric films, like Bridesmaids, or a better wine centric movie, like the masterful Sideways, that they would rather be watching. And I think of my wife and her female friends, and I can imagine every single one of them eating this up. Maybe the jokes would be smart to them, maybe they would relate to those jokes and to the characters more. I don’t know. I can’t imagine a woman hating this film, and if you are reading this, saw Wine Country, and hated it, please let me know and let me know in detail why you hated it. Because I really want to prove my notion/theory wrong. This movie is Rated R and while I do appreciate crude humor and good dick and fart jokes as long as they are smartly written, none of the jokes are just smartly written. The women in this movie just blurt out curse words and talk about their vaginas and how they queef or need phallus love, all of the jokes completely missing their witty target. It’s just being crude for shock value, which never works.
This review is already painstakingly long, so real quick, what can I say about the movie specifically? It’s basically a bunch of alum Saturday Night Live women celebrating the birthday of one of them, while drinking wine out at a nice place out in the country, trying drugs they haven’t done before, getting buck wild and talking about life’s quandaries. Some of them get mad at each other at some point but you know how the movie is going to end. And let me check, was the movie written by SNL writers? Yep, it was. Writers that wrote for the show right when it started not being funny anymore and while it is currently not funny anymore. Should I change my opinion to you will only like the movie if you are a woman and if you still somehow think SNL is painstakingly hilarious? Eh. The actresses are all fine in it though, and try to do the best with the shitty script they were given. This film doesn’t tarnish my review of the likes of Amy Poehler, or Ana Gasteyer, or Rachel Dratch. Maybe a little bit of Tina Fey though, she’s annoying and awful in this even though she is barely in it. I think they are all funny women in general and have all shined in some rare funny moments on SNL but especially their non-SNL projects.
But not this. And was there really even a script? Or did a bunch of SNL women stars and writers make up something real quick to get an all expenses paid wine vacation to spend time together and they just happened to bring a camera along so they could honor their part of the film making contract? Basically, if you read my last review, did they fucking Adam Sandler it? Very possible. The only difference is that it looked like the women wanted to be there and tried where Sandler looks like he wants to kill himself after every scene. But I literally got nothing out of this movie, and will never, ever, ever, ever, ever want to watch it again. I guess Netflix is getting the last laugh on me, as I thought their film that went on the streaming service in January, would be sole contender for worst film of 2019. Nope, Wine Country came out of left field and has now taken that title. So in summation: if you are a man, you are going to fucking hate this movie, and if you are a woman, you are going to love it. I decided that the hard maybe of this film catering to SNL apologists turned into a no. Sorry.