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My mom ordered this on pay-per-view.  I'd heard about it a lot when it was in the theater.  Nothing about the story, just that it was very well regarded.  We were both curious what all the fuss was about.  I've seen Paul Giamatti (Pig Vomit in Private Parts) and Thomas Haden Church (the mechanic in the series Wings) before, and generally liked them.

A middle-aged guy is getting married and his buddy takes him to California wine country for the week before his wedding.  And hilarity ensues.

Well, not quite.  It's comedic, but not a comedy.  I guess it's a study of two guys and how their foibles interact.

Church plays the guy getting married, an actor.  Apparently he had one semi-big hit and is used to trying to sleep with every woman he meets.  Even the week before his wedding he's constantly assessing his chances.

Giamatti plays the main character.  He's a school teacher and a wannabe novelist.   He's also a wine snob, and two years divorced, somewhat bitterly.  And he seems to always be taking the easy way out by lying.

I guess Church is usually lying to get something, and Giamatti is lying to get out of stuff?

Church hooks up with a woman (Sandra Oh, looking cute) who happens to be a friend of a woman (Virginia Madsen, also looking good) that Giamatti has apparently had a slight crush on for quite awhile.  So Giamatti is partly wrapped up in Church's deception.

One incident they threw in that I thought was mildly interesting is what I call the Drunken Dial.  I think they even said, "Did you drunk-dial your ex-wife?"   I haven't experienced it myself but I've heard about it several times.

It would seem that should be enough for the entire story.  But they close that storyline down and Church hooks up with another woman their last night there.  I haven't been able to figure out why they did that.  Unless they felt they needed to show just how libidinous he really was.

I guess I'm not entirely sure what the theme of the movie was.  I'm not sure if any of the characters actually grew during the story.  They seemed to come home the same guys that they left as.

On my brother's Total Movie Value Scale, Rental.  Longtime friends face life-changing events by acting as they always have.  Some interesting moral dilemmas.

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