Monday, 23 March 2015

Review: Sideways

I can't believe I haven't seen…

Sideways Poster

Sideways (2004)
Cert: 15 / 122 mins / Dir. Alexander Payne / Trailer
WoB Rating: 5/7

And here we are with another film which has been recommended many times to me over the years, but usually by people whose cinematic opinions I don't entirely trust, somehow. A comedy about mid-life crises and wine-tasting always seemed a little... well, middle-class frankly, and I have a hard enough time reining in my snobbery as it is.

I'll say right away that I enjoyed Sideways, even though I rarely felt entirely comfortable with it*1. The melancholic-comedy about a stag-week for two 40-something fuck-ups often feels like Clerks for the middle-aged, and the romance and bromance threads don't always gel as neatly as they're intended to, almost like the scripts for two entirely different films have been spliced together.

What really sets the film on edge is that the comedic moments themselves elicit more winces-of-recognition than outright laughs; by no means a bad thing, but it's not the escapism I usually look for in a stag-party movie. That said, director Alexander Payne certainly knows how to get the best from his cast, and the dependably marvellous Paul Giamatti is supported with great turns from Virginia Madsen, Sandra Oh and Thomas Haden Church (who appears to be playing the 17yr-old-in-a-45yr-old's-body from a bodyswap comedy, but plays it so well that it doesn't matter).

As admirable as Sideways is, I can't hand-on-heart rate it as the classic that everyone else seems to, but it's certainly worth watching in a Sunday-afternoon/bottle-of-wine sort of a way.

Although the film will also make you feel inferior about the wine you've chosen to drink…

Have you really never seen this before?

So are you glad you've finally have?

And would you recommend it, now?
To some, but not to all.

Oh, and is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There isn't.

…but what's the Star Wars connection?
Paul Giamatti appears as Rhino in Amazing Spider-Man 2; a film which also stars Felicity Jones, who'll be appearing in the upcoming Star Wars standalone, Rogue One.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 And probably because I didn't feel entirely comfortable with it. The film proudly bears its indie-roots, despite looking and feeling like a studio-flick.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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