We all know that Ridley Scott‘s A Good Year (20th Century Fox, 11.10) is facing an uphill situation. I don’t know what’s wrong but something’s not taking. The tracking says so, and I can feel it when I talk to people about it. I think this is mostly about vague perception and skewed expectations, and almost nothing to do with what the film actually is.
Is it the Russell Crowe factor? I wouldn’t like to think so. He slips into an appealing groove as a London-based master-of the-universe who learns to lighten up after he inherits the deed to a French vineyard, and I don’t see why critics are saying he’s not suited for it. He’s been a trooper on the sit-down circuit, talking with Today‘s Meredith Viera and 60 MinutesSteve Kroft and plugging it all he can.
As a nicely spirited mood piece that isn’t trying to be a “comedy,” A Good Year plays successfully on its own terms, which is a lot more than you can say for Stranger Than Fiction. The die is cast, the cards are dealt and people are going to see what they want to see. I just know this film gets a fairly good groove going, and that it’s easygoing escapism for adults. This is the last I’ll speak of it. It’s just too damn bad.