DVD Review: Bottle Shock

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Release date: Feb 3rd, 2009
MSRP: $27.98

Director: Randall Miller.
Stars: Alan Rickman, Bill Pullman, Chris Pine, Dennis Farina, Freddy Rodriguez, Rachael Taylor

In 1976, the wine world was rocked when, in a blind taste test, wines from the Nappa Valley went toe to toe with those of France.

Bottle Shock tells that story (among others). Alan Rickman stars as Steven Spurrier, a wine salesman living in Paris. Spurrier organizes the tasting, certain that the sad little wines of California would not even come close to those of France. The Last week in Paris is organized in hopes of giving his shop a boost.

Bill Pullman plays Jim Barrett, owner of Chateau Montelena vineyard. He is struggling to make a go of it, with creditors snapping at his heels and a son that less than motivated.

When Bottle Shock focuses on Pullman, Rickman and the wine, it is quite enjoyable. Unfortunately, there are other storylines, including a love triangle that should have been left on the cutting floor. Had this film focused simply on the primary tale, I would give it a fairly enthusiastic thumbs up. But the subplots drag and make Bottle Shock uneven.

The cast is surprisingly loaded, with bit appearances by Denis Farina, Bradley Whitford and Eliza Dushku. But Rickman and Pullman are the ones that really shine. I can’t think of any other Brit that can do the prickish Brit character as well as he. From the first time I saw him (Die Hard), I knew he was one of the good ones. Time and time again, he rewards my faith in him. Watching Rickman eating KFC and drinking wine from a jelly jar is great fun.

Extras:
We get a commentary track featuring a number of cast members. This is pretty enjoyable but, at times, is a bit messy with too many people chattering at once.
There are a couple of featurettes: An Underdog’s Journey: The Making of Bottle Shock runs about 13 minutes and is your standard behind the scenes piece. It features the cast and crew as well as the real Jim Barrett. Chateau Montelena: One Winery’s Search For Excellence appears to be some sort of promotional clip for the actual winery. This baby is a commercial, not a featurette.

Also included are a handful of deleted scenes are hardly worth mentioning.

I don’t know if I can recommend buying Bottle Shock, but it is worth renting or watching on cable. Rickman and Pullman both do a good job and will provide for some very entertaining moments

Order Bottle Shock from Amazon.

Jeremy Lynch
For more reviews from myself, and the rest of the Crimespree crew, check out the index of reviews.