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A Good Year

Not so good a movie
By BRETT MICHEL  |  November 8, 2006
2.0 2.0 Stars

Ridley Scott, modern master of the epic canvas, directs his eye toward a French renaissance piece, revisiting the milieu of his debut feature, 1977’s The Duellists, though the result has more in common with his 2003 effort, Matchstick Men. Which is to say this is another failed attempt at crafting a bubbly, inconsequential lark. Russell Crowe plays rapacious investment banker Max Skinner, and from flashbacks to his youth (where he’s portrayed by Finding Neverland’s Freddie Highmore) spent at the picturesque vineyard estate of his recently deceased Uncle Henry (Albert Finney), we see that Max has lost his way. Based on the novel by travel memoirist Peter Mayle about a year in Provence, the film teletypes every development, an approach that extends to its marketing tag line: “Everything matures . . . eventually.” Mayle is old friends with Scott, and it seems the two cobbled the plot together over many a glass of wine at Scott’s château. They’d have done better to sleep this one off.

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