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Wine Country 2019 ***

Amy Poehler’s debut as director is a Netflix comedy drama that’s a female-driven Big Chill number as a group of women set out for a 50th birthday retreat in the luxurious environs of Napa, with Poehler, Rachel Dratch and Maya Rudolph all trading on their Saturday Night Live fame, with support from Jason Schwartzmann as a paella-chef and Tina Fey agreeably playing against type as a caustic widow who rents out the property. Wine Country manages to get the right mixture between maudlin where-did-my-life-go sentiment and some amusingly comic business; a scene where Poehler and Dratch taste wine with a snooty host is exquisitely times. In fact is Dratch who makes the biggest impression; too often side-lined as a goofy extra, she shines here as the birthday girl who doesn’t feel she has much to celebrate. Poehler has fun as well as the over-organised creative behind the weekend, sending up her own Parks and Recreation image; Wine Country is a smart, sensitive comedy and a smart bit of business by Netflix.


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