Three-Word Review of “Bottle Shock”

Upside-down “Sideways.”

Captions don’t count:  “Bottle Shock,” like its soul-sister “Sideways,” makes much hay from its “wine is like life” metaphors, but unlike the brilliant older sibling, this movie lacks the kind of crisp finish required to truly please the palate. “Sideways” was about people who love wine; “Bottle Shock” is about wine and the people who love it. The central story, about nascent California wineries making a splash at a blind French tasting, isn’t deep enough to carry the action, so the restless characters must bounce off each other for a while until the heavily telegraphed finale. (Seen the trailer? You’ve seen the movie.) My main objection is not that it’s slow (it is); it’s not that the main characters are thin and sometimes grating (they are); it’s that, in scene after scene, the action revolves around people tasting wine and reacting with wide-eyed wonder and gasps of orgasmic rapture. At one point, I told my wife, “Man, I wish I felt that way about a sip of wine.”  Hell, I’d love to feel that way about anything.

Captions don’t count: “Bottle Shock,” like its soul-sister “Sideways,” makes much hay from its “wine is like life” metaphors, but unlike the brilliant older sibling, this movie lacks the kind of crisp finish required to truly please the palate. “Sideways” was about people who love wine; “Bottle Shock” is about wine and the people who love it -- and wine makes a pretty flat lead actor. The central story, about nascent California wineries making a splash at a blind French tasting, isn’t deep enough to carry the action, so the restless characters must bounce off each other for a while until the heavily telegraphed finale. (Seen the trailer? You’ve seen the movie.) My main objection is not that it’s slow (it is); it’s not that the main characters are thin and sometimes grating (they are); it’s that, in scene after scene, the action revolves around people tasting wine and reacting with wide-eyed wonder and gasps of orgasmic rapture. At one point, I told my wife, “Man, I wish I felt that way about a sip of wine.” Hell, a guy would be lucky to feel that way about *anything.*

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