WINE COUNTRY – Review by Jennifer Merin

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Wine Country, a Netflix original directed by Amy Poehler and scripted by Liz Cackowski and Emily Spivey, stars Poehler, Rachel Dratch, Maya Rudolph, Maya Erskine, Tina Fey, Emily Spivey, Ana Gasteyer and Paula Pell in a thoroughly femme-centric turn at the familiar buddy road trip trope.

Poehler’s directorial debut is a truly femme-prevalent production — most of ensemble and much of the crew — through and through The ensemble is essentially a feminist reunion of Saturday Night Live sketch comediennes. And, Liz Cackowski and Emily Spivey’s script stakes out and covers territory that is certainly familiar to women who will delight in seeing the film’s refreshing feminist perspective on screen.

A group of gal pals who’ve been best friends for decades and who are now at or approaching the angsty realities of middle age, decide to reunite and set out for a cheerful getaway to cinematically scenic Napa to celebrate the 50th birthday of one of their crew. The weekend festivities, set down in a packed itinerary take many comedic turns while the women’s spirits and tongues are liberated by sampling ample quantities of red, white and rose. They shop ‘til they drop, sooth themselves by spa-ing, have their tarot fortunes told (by a delightfully dour Cherry Jones) and, in general, get naughty. Continue reading on CINEMA CITIZEN.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Wine Country is AWFJ’s Movie of the Week for May 17, 2019

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Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin is the Film Critic for Womens eNews and contributes the CINEMA CITIZEN blog for and is managing editor for Women on Film, the online magazine of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which she is President. She has served as a regular critic and film-related interviewer for The New York Press and She has written about entertainment for USA Today, The L.A. Times, US Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Endless Vacation Magazine, Daily News, New York Post, SoHo News and other publications. After receiving her MFA from Tisch School of the Arts (Grad Acting), Jennifer performed at the O'Neill Theater Center's Playwrights Conference, Long Wharf Theater, American Place Theatre and LaMamma, where she worked with renown Japanese director, Shuji Terayama. She subsequently joined Terayama's theater company in Tokyo, where she also acted in films. Her journalism career began when she was asked to write about Terayama for The Drama Review. She became a regular contributor to the Christian Science Monitor after writing an article about Marketta Kimbrell's Theater For The Forgotten, with which she was performing at the time. She was an O'Neill Theater Center National Critics' Institute Fellow, and then became the institute's Coordinator. While teaching at the Universities of Wisconsin and Rhode Island, she wrote "A Directory of Festivals of Theater, Dance and Folklore Around the World," published by the International Theater Institute. Denmark's Odin Teatret's director, Eugenio Barba, wrote his manifesto in the form of a letter to "Dear Jennifer Merin," which has been published around the world, in languages as diverse as Farsi and Romanian. Jennifer's culturally-oriented travel column began in the LA Times in 1984, then moved to The Associated Press, LA Times Syndicate, Tribune Media, Creators Syndicate and (currently) Arcamax Publishing. She's been news writer/editor for ABC Radio Networks, on-air reporter for NBC, CBS Radio and, currently, for Westwood One's America In the Morning. She is a member of the Critics Choice Association in the Film, Documentary and TV branches and a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. For her AWFJ archive, type "Jennifer Merin" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).