Bottle Shock

Rated 2.0

Here’s the glossed-up back story of 1976’s “Judgment of Paris,” the historic blind tasting at which a couple of Napa Valley wines, including Chateau Montelena’s chardonnay, toppled French hegemony and put new-world winemaking on the map (and fees in the tasting room). Mainly Bottle Shock is about how Montelena’s implacable former-lawyer proprietor Jim Barrett (Bill Pullman) and his slacker son and assistant Bo (Chris Pine) first crossed paths with the Paris event’s organizer, Steven Spurrier (Alan Rickman), a snooty British wine merchant doing reluctant recon in California. Though well-appointed with affable performances, the Rocky-meets-Sideways script, co-written by director Randall Miller and his wife Jody Savin, is also overwrought with hokey dramatization and overextended with pat, clunky subplots. It flatters the NorCal ethos of good living, which would be fine if the movie itself weren’t so, well, Hollywood: Abundant helicopter shots of rolling, sun-dappled vineyards signify a fablelike land of repose and rustic delectation, in which even the grizzled old barflies have occasion to shout, “Any asshole can tell a merlot from a zinfandel!” Verdict: Chewy, ripe and rounded almost to the point of flabbiness, it finishes rather cleanly; less satisfying is the fragrant bouquet, which contains notes of corn and all-wet underdog.