Following ABOUT SCHMIDT and ELECTION, Alexander Payne once again focuses on the comedy of personal tragedy in the hilarious and poignant SIDEWAYS. Paul Giamatti (AMERICAN SPLENDOR) plays Miles, the film's antihero, a failed author and self-defeatist who still pines for his ex-wife, who divorced him years before. Meanwhile, Miles's old friend Jack (Thomas Haden Church) is getting married, and the two set off on a bachelors' road trip through California wine country. While Miles looks forward to male bonding over the best bottles the vineyards can offer, Jack is a playful philanderer who just wants to get laid. Thus, this fortysomething odd couple find themselves in conflict, leading to a chaotic week of disagreements, miscast romance with some local women (Virginia Madsen and Sandra Oh), and eventually, total meltdown.
Payne's artistic direction and excellent character construction will have viewers reeling with laughter, while also feeling true compassion for these two easy-to-read buddies. The film offers beautiful photography of the California countryside, some unique insight into the wine industry, and a soundtrack featuring tunes by Luna, Pat Travers, Bonnie Raitt, and others. Viewers will come away from SIDEWAYS with a smile on their faces, and a thirst for a nice glass of Pinot Noir.
Academy Awards Best Adapted Screenplay 2004 Alexander Payne Director/Screenwriter