Wednesday, November 17, 2004



Paul Giamatti: Miles Raymond, an unpublished writer and eighth-grade English teacher
Thomas Haden Church: Jack Lopate, long-time friend of Miles and former soap opera icon
Sandra Oh: Stephanie, a wine tasting room employee
Virginia Madsen: Maya, a waitress in Miles’ favorite restaurant, The Hitching Post

Not your regular “buddy movie” with two guys out on their own for one week before one of them gets married. This movie actually takes the time for character development instead of jumping from one activity to another at breakneck speed. As we get to know the principal characters, it is easy to relate to them because we see something in them that reminds us of ourselves or someone we know. The pace is just right: no one is in a big rush (except Jack maybe) and the acting is superb.

But there is one other thing: the lousy ending. Although the director wraps up Jack’s final scene so that we know where he’s headed, he chose not to handle Miles in the same way. Failing to do so has resulted in my rating the movie ½* lower than it would have been. That should teach him!

for quite explicit brief scenes of couples making out plus a full-frontal scene of one of the participants and the frequent use of the f-word.

An added bonus are the dazzling views of the lovely seaside coast in northern California’s wine country.

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