A milestone birthday, a cast of exceptionally funny women and day drinking.
This is the brilliant equation behind Netflix’s latest comedy Wine Country, which was directed by Parks and Recreation’s Amy Poehler and brings together comedy heavyweights, Maya Rudolph, Paula Pell, Rachel Dratch, Ana Gasteyer and Emily Spivey, as well as Tina Fey and Cherry Jones.
The film follows six girlfriends who originally met waiting tables at a Chicago-based pizzeria, in their 20s, and reunite for their friend Rebecca’s (Dratch) 50th birthday.
The premise mixes Friends from College, with twangs of The Hangover and Bad Moms, with the women in the story loosely mirroring that of their real-life counterparts who first met as friends doing comedy in Chicago.
Watch the trailer for Netflix’s Wine Country here:
While the initial reviews of the Wine Country have been… meh (the tasting notes of “dry,” “flat” and “mellow” have all been used) it’s truly an honest and enjoyable comedy. Beyond the belly laughs, of which there are many, the film is a testament to female friendship, but not the shiny, Cosmopolitan-tinged exterior it’s often portrayed to be.
Now, in their late 40s and early 50s, their friendship has been frayed by distance, age and life, with long-buried resentments bubbling to the surface.
Poehler’s character Abby is the ‘Nicole’ of the group and while her meticulous and controlling itinerary irks some members, it’s a cover for a professional set back she’s keeping secret. Conversely, Catherine’s (Gasteyer) workaholic nature and phone addiction isolates her from the rest of the group, which only increases her paranoia that she’s getting left out.
Their characters are just quirky enough. You’ll see yourself, and your friends in these characters and laugh when you do.
In one particularly poignant line, Poehler shouts: “These women, I have known for 20 plus years and yeah… sometimes I want to tell this one to f**k off. That’s what intimacy looks like.”
It’s a moment of comedic gold, but it’s also something any friendship that’s stood the test of time will know to be true. Real friendships are messy and group holidays are complicated, and it’s this sliver of realism mixed with comedy that makes Wine Country stand out above other, more generic comedies.