Ridley Scott, a master of quality visuals, wows us with luscious colours and tints. But Russell Crowe wasn't the right grape for this and his pratfalling 'comic' turn is painful.
The script, from a Peter Mayle novel, is a clunker. The hackneyed tale of a big-city git finding himself, and true love, in Provencal vineyard, is insipid, unconvincing and leaves a bitter aftertaste.
Baring of souls is all well and good. But the baring, or pinching, or joking, about butts soon gets tiresome. And the girls seem mostly there as ooh-la-la eye-candy. Scott's self-conscious sixties music and retro visuals over the end-credits seem to be knowing nod to the lighthearted, suggestive frolics of yesteryear. But it just serves to highlight the film’s ill-judged sexism and vulgarity.
Crowe's a meany at the start and only less of a git at the end. Only Tom Hollander's wonderful turn as an on-the-make lawyer adds a note of class – consolidating Hollander’s reputation as an actor who can seemingly do no wrong.
This is a wine that promises much but gets up your nose and pees on your palate. After all those widescreen movies, you don't begrudge Ridley Scott's right to paint in miniature. But he's the only one having any fun. Crowe, back with him after Gladiator, is no comedian and looks distinctly uncomfortable.
Good looking yet sour as vinegar, <i>A Good Year</i> lacks maturity and should probably be kept in a cellar for a hundred years.