I first read Amy Poehler's bright pink biography five years ago, and cried with laughter from the first few sentences until the last turned page. I appreciate everything about this actress's frank and hilarious persona in being silly and weird with her girlfriends . Knowing that she had directed a new movie 'Wine Country' on Netflix, and having struggled through another gloomy week in lockdown, I jumped at the chance to roll around laughing in my living room. The story follows six close women who venture to Napa Valley to drink, unwind, sing karaoke and celebrate a 50th birthday.
Maya Rudolph is such a warming character in every movie, she beams honesty and foolishness, that you're dying to be her closest bud. There was a great mix in the back story behind each woman's lives, the over worked city female, the scared timid lady, the breast feeding mother. The fact Poehler explored a queer middle aged women in the group was groundbreaking as a LGBTQ character in a female group hasn't been expressed in other comedies, such as Bridesmaid's, before. The narrative followed an easy route, as the ladies begin to express their frustrations, ultimately resulting in an A + E make up. The scene when the women are being told about wine with an expect, as they quickly inhale the alcohol and high five whilst attempting their favourite jokes, was giggling gold. The tone of the movie was warming the all way through down to the characters speech in the script. It was lovely to see the story told in California instead of in their actual lives, as an audience member, you almost connected with that sense of a vacation with your closest friends.
Tina Fay is a talented actress who has shone in characters through the years, but this wasn't one of them. When the ladies arrive at their villa in the hills they are greeted by the masculine deep voiced 'Tammy'. From the moment she spoke it felt like even Fay didn't want to be there, performing this bizarre role. She had barely any interest in the narrative, apart from showing a water feature on the house tour and finally creeping in for a vino at the end. The film would have more powerful without having to drag her down to play a lonesome widowed wine lover. It's also a real shame not to see more black actors in the movie and I think this is something Amy should have considered when looking at women for the film.
It's been a difficult few months, full of harsh realities, and sometimes audiences need a few chuckles to remind them life can be as stupid as it was when you were a kid. Poehler has succeeded in doing exactly this with 'Wine Country'. It's not an Oscar winning drama that will leave you fist pumping the ceiling to stand up in a social, economical or political movement. But it will make you smile ear to ear about the strong binding connections you follow through life with your female friends. As Maya says, "Let's live for today and party until out panties fly off."