Bottle Shock
Written and directed by Randall Miller

Starring Bill Pullman, Alan Rickman


Bottle Shock

"Bottle Shock" is one of those 'based on a true story' films that has absolutely no reason to have been made. It's the well-known story - I should say well-known because if you're a wine enthusiast you already know the story, and if you're not you wouldn't have even the faintest interest in watching this film. It's the story of the blind wine tasting in Paris, where a British wine enthusiast who happened to own a wine shop in Paris brought bottles of Napa and Sonoma wines to a tasting against the very best crus of France, and - tah-dah - guess who won?

You're saying, 'that's it?' Well, yes. That's it, except that before the wine tasting we have to go through the most conventional, clicheed tsouris about whether or not it would be advisable for the Napa growers to let their wines go to the tasting. In particular, it's the winemaker Bill Pullman, supposedly of the Montelena winery in Napa, and his reluctance to have his wines go to the testing because, of course, he's got his own pride that won't let him go and so his son Bo, played by Chris Pine, rescues him and sneaks a bottle to the wine tasting. And let's not forget the girl, the summer intern played by Rachel Taylor, whom both Bo and a Mexican immigrant's son are in love with.

Oh, and the British wine merchant, who has a shop in Paris, is played - badly, in my view - by an otherwise wonderful actor, Alan Rickman. For one thing, although he lives and works in Paris, his grasp of French is embarrassingly bad.

So the film has to spend an hour and a half of our time as we suffer through Pullman's angst, his son's jealousy, and the little Mexican winemaker all mixed up in what you might call a meta-megillah before we can get to the wine tasting itself.

And if you thought wine tastings were photogenic, you'd better think again; you watch twelve people spitting wine into, what else, spittoons. So that's "Bottle Shock." Enjoy.