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SIDEWAYS – Rolfe Kent

October 22, 2004 Leave a comment

sidewaysOriginal Review by Peter Simons

Having received much critical and popular acclaim Sideways can be considered last year’s surprise hit. Being the winning film at the Toronto film festival, it also received seven Oscar nominations in addition to seven Golden Globe nominations of which it won two: for screenplay and film. Combining elements of a romantic comedy and a road movie, Sideways is about the two middle aged men Miles (Paul Giamatti) and Jack (Thomas Haden Church) who set off for a week into California’s wine country in search of a good time, lots of wine and women. The chronically melancholy Miles is still recovering from his marital break up from two years ago; while the overly outgoing Jack is about to get wed. Before committing to one woman Jack insists on getting laid during this road trip, though Miles grudgingly disapproves of his friend’s behavior and would rather get drunk on Pinots. However, they meet the mature Maya (Virginia Madsen), who clearly like Miles a lot, and the frisky Stephanie (Sandra Oh) with whom Jack hits it off immediately. Miles’ compulsive obsession with wines and his shy struggle with women; in contrast to Jack’s generally exuberant and overly confident behavior make for many hilarious scenes. The cast perform terrifically and it’s easy to see why moviegoers were surprised by the Oscar’s passing on nominating Giamatti for his lead role. Read more…