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Poehler Film Shows Directorial Promise

By Gunner Lee

Written and directed by comedian Amy Poehler, Wine Country follows a group of six women on their trip to Napa Valley to celebrate a 50th birthday. The movie features a wide range of well-known former Saturday Night Live (SNL) cast members, with Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, and Rachel Dratch.

While on the trip, the six friends begin exploring both their friendships and futures. The movie becomes a new tale of the classic coming of age story, as we see the middle-aged women coming to terms with their lives. The film reintroduces the audience with the common complications of adult life, exploring difficulties in their lives with careers, social life, and money. Such simple problems for the characters really help to ground them in reality.

The well-known comedian cast brings a familiar chemistry to the screen. However, even with a multitude of experienced actors, the script seemed to be lacking. For a movie with a cast with such successful track records, the more than capable cast was severely underutilized. Although Wine Country was aimed to be more than just an hour and 43 minutes of jokes, the movie is still classified as a comedy. Even if the film is generally targeted towards older adults, it doesn’t make the lack of truly laughable content less disappointing. With such a versatile line up at their disposal, it was surprising that the creators of the movie weren’t more comedy-oriented.

Although the humor in the film ended as more miss than hit, the story was still interesting and fresh. As stated previously, the film puts a unique twist on the classic coming of age story. Rather than following a teenager’s adolescent struggles, the film highlights the very real and equally prevalent conflicts that adults encounter throughout their lives. Each character felt properly developed, and even though some had more of a spotlight than others, each of them had their own struggles and character arc. Despite having to juggle six characters, the storylines felt real and believable, creating adult characters that were vulnerable and very relatable. The film emphasized the lack of stories surrounding real adults in the media.

Overall, Amy Poehler’s newest film presents us with a story that has yet to be told. Even when the comedic side seemed to suffer, the story and plot were still unique and engaging. While it would have been nice to see the skilled comedians use more of their talents, it was still entertaining to see Maya Rudolph and Tina Fey back in action.

While Wine Country is very much a film aimed towards an older audience, it’s still enjoyable for most. Unfortunately, this movie didn’t live up to the expectations set by the previous works of the cast, but the story did present a new take on a story about growing up. While Poehler’s newest film may be a slightly different style for her, she has undeniably proven herself as a capable director and writer, even if she did decide to deviate from her comedic roots.

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