Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen
Directed by Alexander Payne
20th Century Fox Award Series Double Feature
Fox Home Entertainment 2009

Sideways is as close to a guy version of the chick flick Hollywood will ever get. This 2004 buddy movie and Academy Award winner for best adapted screenplay stars Paul Giamatti and Thomas Hayden Church as two guys in their mid-forties on the road and facing their version of the mid-life crisis. This DVD comes with the lesser Little Miss Sunshine as part of the Fox Award Series Double Feature Academy Award season promo.

Best and divorced man Miles (Giamatti) decides to take his soon to be hitched best friend Jack (Haden Church) on a wine tasting tour. Miles is in his forties with little to show except a divorce he is not over with and sometime actor Jack might have something to show for it if he gets married. The guys meet two single women, Sandra Oh and Virginia Madsen, and they spend some time together.

Sideways has a bit of the road movie to it but it is one of those subtle adult oriented comedies where situations, characters, and especially dialogue make up the humor. The movie is an elegant blend of pathos and humor. Even if you are not a wine aficionado –though this movie just might make you one— the poetry of wine comes through.

Special kudos to the writers who manage to make the wine information not sound like so much pretentious mumbo-jumbo nor make the audience feel dumb if their idea of wine comes in a box.

This is a very original and subtle comedy that will certainly be one of those movies you watch again from time to time.


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