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A wine tasting road trip to salute Jack's final days as a bachelor careens woefully sideways as he and Miles hit the gas en route to mid-life crises. The comically mismatched pair, who share little more than their history and a heady blend of failed potential and fading youth, soon find themselves drowning in wine and women. Emerging from a haze of pinot noir, wistful yearnings and trepidation about the future, the two inevitably collide with reality.
PROFANITY: Over 30 F-words, 14 S-words, 1 GD, a number of others. SEX/NUDITY: Brief but graphic sex scenes with related nudity. VIOLENCE: One brutal beating. DRUGS/ALCOHOL: Cigarette smoking and non-stop wine drinking. ACTION: None. COMEDY: Verbal and physical humor; lots of sex-related gags.
The above rating is an average of the critic reviews below.
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Berardinelli, Internet CriticFull Review Very Good The characters in Sideways are better developed than those in the earlier films, the poignancy is just as forceful as it was in About Schmidt, and the comedy is slightly better integrated. In my opinion, this is Payne's finest movie to-date. It is a little on the long side (slightly over two hours), but the minutes fly by. It's likely that 2004 won't offer a better movie about a mid-life crisis.
Roger EbertFull Review Excellent Alexander Payne has made four wonderful movies: 'Citizen Ruth,' 'Election,' the Jack Nicholson tragicomedy 'About Schmidt, and now this. He finds plots that service his characters, instead of limiting them. The characters are played not by the first actors you would think of casting, but by actors who will prevent you from ever being able to imagine anyone else in their roles.
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OPINION OVERVIEW The following is the original "What's Worth
Watching" write-up for this movie.
We collected 65 moviegoer opinions. For a movie that the critics are so high on (it's at the top of most of their top ten movies for 2004) "Sideways" certainly didn't get very good moviegoer opinions. The opinions are very mixed. There are no "Fantastic" opinions and very few "Excellent" opinions from the adults, a very bad sign. Fortunately, there are a high percentage of "Very Good" opinions. Unfortunately, there are a LOT of very low opinions. For most of you I wouldn't recommend "Sideways." Your chances of truly enjoying it are very low. The only exception would be those of you who's opinion of movies is usually similar to that of critics.
The misadventures begin when Miles (Paul Giamatti), an un-recovered divorcé and would-be novelist with a wine fixation, decides to gift his old college buddy and washed-up actor Jack (Thomas Haden Church) with a celebratory trip to the vineyards of the Central Coast the week before Jack's wedding. The two couldn't be an odder couple. Jack is an over-sexed charmer; Miles is a sad-sack worrier. Jack is looking for his "last taste of freedom;" Miles is just hoping to not get even more depressed. Jack is fine with cheap Merlot; Miles pines for the perfect Pinot. Indeed, the only thing they seem to share in common is the same heady mix of failed ambitions and fading youth.
And yet, as they make their way up the coast, Miles and Jack soon find themselves drowning in wine and women (Sandra Oh and Virginia Madsen). When Jack falls head-over-heels for a local wine pourer and threatens to call off his nuptials, Miles tries to keep his friend on the straight and narrow. But Miles's own romantic encounter with a wine-savvy waitress interferes and sends them both careening headlong into reality.
Now, the wedding approaches and with it the certainty that Miles and Jack won't make it back to Los Angeles unscathed or unchanged . . . if they get there in one piece at all.