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A Good Year

Released: 2006

Genre: Comedy

Runtime: 1 hr 58 min

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Ridley Scott

Starring: Russell Crowe, Marion Cotillard, Albert Finney, Freddie Highmore, Rafe Spall, Archie Panjabi

London-based Investment expert Max Skinner (Crowe) moves to Provence to sell a small vineyard he has inherited from his late uncle. As Max reluctantly settles into what ultimately becomes an intoxicating new chapter in his life, he encounters a beautiful California woman who also lays claim to the property.

A romantic comedy without any laughs.

Review by: SteveRhodes

Added: 8 years ago

Completely vacuous. A GOOD YEAR isn't. It isn't even a good minute. A romantic comedy without any laughs, any chemistry or any story to speak of, A GOOD YEAR has only two saving graces. Set in a lush French vineyard and in a glittering London, the film can rightly boast of sumptuous sets and warm and inviting cinematography. But absent its appeal as a travelogue, there is absolutely nothing to recommend this minimal movie, which reunites GLADIATOR's star Russell Crowe with its director Ridley Scott.

Crowe is able to play the action hero role well, but he is clueless when it comes to what it takes to make an appealing romantic lead. But to be fair, he isn't helped much by the script, which has little to say or do, and, what it does have him do is clichéd and ridiculous. For example, it has Crowe, as wealthy London stock trader Max Skinner, get stuck driving one of those extra tiny cars, which are all the rage in Europe. In an attempt to make us laugh, it has the French laugh at the car, which makes no sense since these mini-motors are all over the country. And, when Max comes up to a French roundabout, something very common in his native England, the movie is sped up, as he goes around and around on it before finally realizing how to get off.

The story is set mainly in the present. Just after Max ends up on the winning side of a huge trade -- "sell, sell, sell" followed by "buy, buy, buy" -- he clears a quick hundred million pound profit for his firm. Soon after that he has to go to France to settle his uncle's estate, which includes a rundown country house and a winery that makes wine so bad people spit it out. Albert Finney, in a series of flashbacks, plays the uncle.

Max discovers two beautiful women there. The younger one claims to be the uncle's illegitimate daughter, and hence the rightful owner of the estate which Max thought was going to him, and a slightly older waitress, who is saucy but available. The story doesn't have any real idea about what do with either of the women.

After a couple of hours of nice images and little else, the movie finally gives up the ghost without ever figuring out what it wanted to tell us.

A GOOD YEAR runs 1:58. The film is in English and in French with English subtitles. It is rated PG-13 for "language and some sexual content" and would be acceptable for kids around 8 and up.