Bottle Shock

0
0
Subscribe to Alan Rickman alerts

Facts and Figures

Run time: 110 mins

In Theaters: Friday 19th September 2008

Box Office USA: $3.9M

Box Office Worldwide: $4M

Distributed by: Freestyle Releasing

Production compaines: Intellectual Properties Worldwide, Zininsa Film Production

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 48%
Fresh: 57 Rotten: 61

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Randall Miller

Producer: Jody Savin, Randall Miller, Marc Lhormer, Brenda Lhormer

Starring: Alan Rickman as Steven Spurrier, Chris Pine as Bo Barrett, Bill Pullman as Jim Barrett, Freddy Rodríguez as Gustavo Brambila, Rachael Taylor as Sam Fulton, Dennis Farina as Maurice Cantavale, Hal B. Klein as Shenky, Jean-Michel Richaud as Maitre d', Eliza Dushku as Joe, Kirk Baily as Loan Officer, Philippe Bergeron as Pierre Tari, Bradley Whitford as Professor Saunders

Bottle Shock Movie Review


Though it's hard to believe, over 30 years ago, wines from continents other than Europe (and countries other than France and Italy) were considered crap. Not less palatable or uncertain in quality: Boone's Farm meets Thunderbird. Uncivilized swill. Of course, this wasn't true. Napa Valley, as well as regions in Australia, were creating wonderful vintages. But since the French controlled everything about the culture of the grape, their disdain meant no one took outsider vineyards seriously.

In 1976, all that changed. During the year of America's Bicentennial, a British merchant working in Paris came to California looking for participants for his exclusive tasting competition. He hoped to raise awareness of his failing shop and solidify his place in the snobbish wine society. Instead, winemonger Stephen Spurrier made history, and his accidental discoveries sent international palettes into something akin to Bottle Shock. Now, decades since the U.S. became part of cultured world cuisine, director Randall Miller offers up a serio-comic take on the event, and for the most part, it's as tasty as a well-aged Burgundy.

When we first meet the Barrett family -- father Jim (Bill Pullman) and son Bo (Chris Pine) -- they are on the verge of bankruptcy. While their Chateau Montelena creates fantastic wines, no one outside the locals knows about them. The market is wholly owned by the Europeans. Hoping to learn something about life in a vineyard, college intern Sam (Rachel Taylor) arrives. She quickly befriends Bo and his buddy -- and secret winemaking savant -- Gustavo Brambila (Freddy Rodriguez). Meanwhile, Spurrier (Alan Rickman) is desperate to keep his snooty store afloat. On the advice of expatriate Maurice (Dennis Farina), he creates a competition to find the best wines in the world. But once he arrives in the U.S., the connoisseur is surprised at the quality of work -- especially coming out of the struggling Barrett business.

Since we know the outcome in advance (American labels are now famous all over the globe) Bottle Shock has to get by on character and charm. It wants to balance the last fleeting days of '60s hippy hedonism with the intricacies of successful vinification to champion an uber-USA nationalism. Director Miller relies on the breeziest kind of nostalgia, a wistfulness where all problems are punished by a healthy dose of positive mental attitude and an era appropriate song or two. He gives us both sides of the Barrett dilemma -- a dad too serious to see beyond his failures and a son too surfer-dude to take anything (except sex) seriously. Together they form the yin and yang of a narrative that avoids any major pitfalls on its way to American enological supremacy.

Rickman is required to be the slapstick stranger in a strange land here, to use his stiff upper Brit wit as ballast for what is otherwise the standard comic snob. Riding around in a beaten up junker may sound funny, but someone with this actor's undeniable talent deserves a tad better. Similarly, Pine is poised as part Jesus, part joke, a Merlot messiah unable to see his value to his parent or to their particular grape. He has to be pushed into action, and when he does, he has a novice's brand of luck. Many of the plot points here feel too pat, as if the screenplay is scooting over the more troublesome facts of the real-life events.

Still, thanks to its inherently interesting subject matter (who knew our efforts were so abhorred prior to '76?) and the genial demeanor of the cast, Bottle Shock becomes a satisfying, if slightly syrupy entertainment. It's not to be savored so much as sipped and sampled for what it is.

More Ripple, sir?


Contactmusic

0
0
Subscribe to Alan Rickman alerts

Comments

Bottle Shock Rating

" OK "

Advertisement

More Alan Rickman

A Little Chaos Trailer

In the palace of Versailles, a tremendous garden is maintained. One day, the builder and head gardener sees an ordinary woman arriving at the palace,...

Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy Album Review

The solo career of Mr Rice is not one you may realistically describe as that with which you may associate a prolific output. His is...

Backstreet Boys: Show 'Em What You're Made Of Trailer

In the late 90's and early 00's, The Backstreet Boys were the most powerful boy band in the world. After discovering that they had not...

George The Poet - 1,2,1,2 (Dismantle Remix) Video

George The Poet unveils an audio for the Dismantle Remix of his single '1,2,1,2', taken from the tracks Remixes EP. The track has been produced...

Advertisement

Perfume Genius - Too Bright Album Review

Ever since the release of his debut LP 'Learning' back in 2010, Seattle's Perfume Genius has attracted increasing attention both publicly and critically. His piano...

The Boys of St. Paul's Choir School - O Come All Ye Faithful Video

The angelic voices of The Boys of St. Paul's Choir School perform a moving rendition of classic Christmas carol 'O Come All Ye Faithful'.

Jamie Scott - Last Christmas Video

Jamie Scott of London duo GRAFFITI6 performs an acoustic rendition of Wham!'s 1984 festive single 'Last Christmas' in a black and white one-take video. In...

Christina Aguilera Ft. Brian McKnight - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas Video

In 2000, Christina Aguilera recorded a collection of some of her favourite Christmas songs and the sessions resulted in the album 'My Kind of Christmas',...

Advertisement