A rom-com where the female friendships are the stars of the story? We couldn’t be more excited.
Thank god for Saturday Night Live.
Without the award-winning sketch show, some of Hollywood’s best and most enduring female friendships might never have existed. We’re talking about the relationships between stars Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph and their friendship group that spans fellow Saturday Night Live alumnae Paula Pell, Rachel Dratch, Ana Gasteyer and Emily Spivey.
It’s these friendship that have inspired, and are at the heart of, new must-see Netflix film Wine Country, the hilarious trailer for which has just dropped.
Poehler has revealed that the film was inspired by the real-life holidays that her and the SNL gang have been taking for years, ensuring that they get quality time together, away from their work schedules.
For example, on one of those holidays to Napa Valley, Poehler became convinced she had dropped her phone in the toilet. (Hilarity ensued. “Let me get some gloves,” Rudolph told her, according to a new interview in Vanity Fair, “I’m gonna look for that phone!”) On another trip, this time to Palm Springs, everyone was given muumuus and $800 (£605) worth of luxury vibrators – complete with battery sets – to enjoy over the weekend.
At some point on one of their group holidays, Poehler had a proverbial lightbulb moment. She realised that these trips were cinema magic: a midlife crisis romantic comedy in which the love story is one of female friendship.
“Not only because these are the greatest, funniest performers,” Poehler told Vanity Fair. “But there’s just not enough films that take full advantage of what it’s like to be our age and to be around women that have known you for a really long time but aren’t competing for the same job or the same guy.”
When will Wine Country be on Netflix?
Wine Country will be all yours to watch on Netflix from 10 May.
Who is directing Wine Country?
Wine Country is Poehler’s film directorial debut. (She has previously directed episodes of Parks and Recreation and Broad City.) Shot over seven weeks in Los Angeles and Napa Valley, it follows a group of women on a holiday away, less of “a lost weekend so much as a found weekend,” Poehler explained.
The movie is replete with female energy: Spivey and Liz Cackowski wrote the script and almost all of the speaking roles are female. Plus, when women are on screen together, they’re not talking about their partners or families back home. They’re in the here and now with each other.
“When women are together, they’re really excited to be in their witchy circle,” Poehler explained to Vanity Fair. “Every film has a certain amount of real estate. It was nice not to give that precious real estate to a story we didn’t want to tell.”
Who makes up the Wine Country cast?
Poehler stars as the organised pal bringing together her friends for Rebecca’s (Dratch) 50th birthday.
Each woman plays a different role in the group, there’s the cynical Jenny (Spivey), the sex-mad Val (Pell), work-obsessed Catherine (Gasteyer) and anxious Naomi (Rudolph). Fey, who couldn’t commit to the full shoot schedule, pops in and out of the movie as the owner of the house they rent in the titular wine country.
What is Wine Country about?
While the male version of this movie – think The Hangover, or anything starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg – has a certain specific tone, Wine Country attacks the subject of a midlife crisis in a different way.
“The movie’s not about ladies who can’t act their age,” Poehler said. “A man’s midlife crisis is: gets a fancy car, fucks somebody too young for him, has a crazy weekend, and realises what he’s got. I don’t even know what the female version of that is.”
“Self mutilation?” Rudolph joked. “Probably some kegels, Botox parties, maybe a tattoo for the first time?”
Poehler added: “The women I know in their 40s and 50s are incredibly interesting, funny, accomplished, doing a million things, and there’s a lot of rich stories to tell there that don’t involve loss or fear of being left.”
We’ve said it once, we’ll say it again, rumours of the death of the romantic comedy have been greatly exaggerated.
Thanks to Netflix, this genre is getting another moment in the sun. They may not be the same kinds of romantic comedies that rose to prominence in the Eighties and Nineties, but that’s a good thing. The rom-coms you’ll find on Netflix now are telling vastly different stories in a vastly different way. They’re telling the love stories of a woman who won’t sacrifice her dreams for her partner, of a plus-size woman learning to love herself, of a mixed race girl in her first relationship, of a woman falling in love with her career.
And now, with Wine Country, Netflix has made a romantic comedy about the great love of every woman’s life: her friends.
Images: Getty / Instagram