Vacation State of Mind
A Good Year is about a Russell Crowe character going on vacation, which is appropriate since that's what it feels like he and director Ridley Scott have done. That the two last collaborated on the popular action-and-violence spectacle Gladiator is hardly in evidence here in this trifle of a movie.
The film has a simple plot -- Crowe's unscrupulous trading shark inherits a French vineyard, goes there, gets stuck, and learns a thing or two from the country folk -- and it's presented glibly, seemingly preoccupied with two concerns: slick cinematic delivery (fancy camera moves and angles, quick editing, even fast-motion for some comedy bits) and very light humor that goes for chuckles and smiles. It's as if the movie demands to be viewed as inconsequential -- and coming from Scott, one of cinema's heavy-hitters, we have to wonder what in the world made him decide to take this detour? About the only thing that distinguishes it from other similar films is how Crowe's character (named Max Skinner -- subtle, no?) holds out by being a jerk for as long as he can before finally fully succumbing to warm feelings.
Overall, the movie gives a distinctly macho take on the story, though I don't know if that's necessarily more appealing or off-putting. The scenery sure is pretty, though -- pretty countryside, pretty estate, pretty people. One could do worse than to please one's eyes with the pictures here, but that may be as far as any stimulation goes. (Capsule review)
(Released by Fox 2000 Pictures and rated "PG-13" for language and some sexual content.)
Review also posted at www.windowtothemovies.com.