I like how wine continues to evolve, like if I opened a bottle of wine today it would taste different than if I'd opened it on any other day, because a bottle of wine is actually alive. And it's constantly evolving and gaining complexity. That is, until it peaks, like your '61. And then it begins its steady, inevitable decline - Maya
/spoilers/ A bitter-sweet comedy about life's disappointments, the film centers around the journey of a downtrodden writer/high school Egnlish teacher/wine connoisseur Miles (Paul Giamatti) and his washed-up actor friend Jack (Thomas Haden Church) to the famous wine country where they meet the women of their dreams (Virginia Madsen, Sandra Oh), sort of. Although the two characters have completely different personalities (one is very serious about everything while the other takes nothing seriously), both are at the crossroads of life as Miles frets over probably his only and last chance to get published and Jack over his last days as a bachelor. The portrayal of two middle-aged men who have accomplished next to nothing thus far in their lives are painfully true to life; yet the movie does not get bogged down in the melodramatics. The sadness and disappointments are mixed with tons of humour and a soupçon of irony. The charm of the movie is that it brings together the grotesque human comedies with the tragic and serious aspects of life, mixes them up and serves up a bitter-sweet dish of what life is all about.
The movie is very entertaining (even if Jack's antics can get tiring after a while), and the acting is superb. Although depressing at times, the movie is not pessimistic. The undercurrent of sadness runs through the movie but never overcomes it. For the resignation of Jack to a married life and a job in his father-in-law's business, there is the continuous strife of Miles who, one gets the sense by the end of the film, will keep on trying. Life is therefore like Miles's favourite wine Pinot, only "somebody who really takes the time to understand [its] potential can then coax it into its fullest expression."
For those who don't give up, there is hope yet.