Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bottle Shock gave the french a kick in the teeth!

Freestyle Releasing's Bottle Shock

The birth of California's Napa wine industry, and their triumph over the French at the 1976 Paris Tastings takes place in the comedy-drama Bottle Shock. Based on a true story, Bottle Shock chronicles the events leading up to the famous "Judgement of Paris" tastings, told through the lives of father and son, Jim and Bo Barrett (Bill Pullman and Chris Pine). A former real estate attorney, Jim sacrificed everything to realize his dream of creating the perfect hand-crafted chardonnay. His business however, is struggling, and he's not only trying to overcome differences with his slacker son, but is also fighting off the creditors. Meanwhile in Paris, unwitting British wine shop owner Steven Spurrier (Alan Rickman) hopes to revive his failing business by sponsoring a competition which will pit the tradiotional French powerhouse against the California upstarts.

"Bottle Shock" begins with floundering expatriate wine seller Steven Spurrier (Alan Rickman) looking for publicity and a Sonoma winemaker Jim Barrett (Bill Pullman) looking for some customers.While Barrett struggles to make the best chardonnay on earth, his patience is being tested by wild-man son Bo (Chris Pine), who's having crises all his own: Their winery's beautiful intern, Sam (Rachael Taylor) is falling for wine prodigy Gustavo (Freddy Rodriguez) rather than Bo. The young people are fine, but Pullman is in the midst of proving himself one of America's most versatile actors and Rickman's supercilious Spurrier is hilarious. (So is Dennis Farina, as an American in Paris who hangs around Spurrier's wine shop waiting for free tastings). A winning cast and a magnum's worth of subplots make "Bottle Shock" extremely watchable, perhaps a bit fruity, with grace notes of leather, oak and no ham. A strong 4 on my "Go See" scale.

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