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Bottle Shock (2008)



Average Rating: 5.6/10
Reviews Counted: 118
Fresh: 57 | Rotten: 61

Bottle Shock fails to properly utilize the inspiring true tale at its core, settling instead for an ordinary, plodding account.


Average Rating: 5.9/10
Critic Reviews: 36
Fresh: 18 | Rotten: 18

Bottle Shock fails to properly utilize the inspiring true tale at its core, settling instead for an ordinary, plodding account.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 18,569

My Rating

Movie Info

Brought together by a curious twist of fate on a dusty California road, a wandering vintner and a struggling winemaker find both their lives, and their careers, forever transformed at a blind Parisian wine tasting that introduced the world to the extraordinary wines of Napa Valley. The year is 1976, and Napa Valley has yet to gain the reputation as one of world's best-known wine regions. Jim Barrett (Bill Pullman) has sacrificed everything in life to realize his dream of creating the perfect


Drama, Comedy

Jody Savin, Randall Miller, Ross Schwartz

Feb 3, 2009


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All Critics (121) | Top Critics (36) | Fresh (57) | Rotten (61) | DVD (6)

The people who made Bottle Shock obviously love their wine. They're not that crazy about the French. And they are firm believers in the screenwriting rule of leaving no underdog-formula cliché unused.

August 22, 2008 | Comment (1)
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Rickman adds a welcome astringency.

August 22, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Bottle Shock is... utterly charming.

August 15, 2008 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Unfortunately, Miller can't decide whether he's doing a relationship movie or one about the intrigue of world-class winemaking. Mingling the two left me with a somewhat sour aftertaste.

August 15, 2008 Full Review Source: Denver Rocky Mountain News
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Comedy and drama are nicely balanced in this mostly true tale.

August 15, 2008 Full Review Source: Denver Post | Comment (1)
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Its heart is so in the right place and its tableau so appealing that it's easy to come away from this sweet, scrappy film with a nice little buzz.

August 14, 2008 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

With much loving, longing gazing at the Napa Valley landscape, it's awfully good-looking, if you can discount the high-waisted bell-bottoms and the homely yellow AMC Gremlin that wheezes into scenes every once in a while.

December 24, 2009 Full Review Source: Florida Times-Union
Florida Times-Union

It doesn't exactly come off as boxed wine to the top-shelf sensibilities of Sideways, but there's not enough story or heart for it to capture the same lightning in a bottle.

August 14, 2009 Full Review Source: Times-Picayune

As a rather strenuous attempt at a feel-good movie, Bottle Shock falls a long way short of the mark.

April 10, 2009 Full Review Source: The Australian
The Australian

It's not in the same league as Sideways but it has a fragrant sense of the beauty of wine and winemaking, not just the drinking.

April 3, 2009 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald

Bottle Shock is one of those cockle-warming, feel-good underdog films in the tradition of Strictly Ballroom. Only in this case Scott and Fran are, respectively, a Chardonnay with tangerine undertones, and a Cabernet Merlot blend.

March 28, 2009 Full Review Source: Screenwize

Predictable in its moves, it's engaging enough, though it has nowhere near the characterisation, say, of Paul Giamatti and Thomas Hayden Church in Sideways.

March 27, 2009 Full Review Source: MovieTime, ABC Radio National
MovieTime, ABC Radio National

Predictable, corny, schmaltzy, inane, unfunny, flat, sentimental and utterly fatuous. Most of the acting is bad, and none of the characters are interesting. Watching it is about as culturally rewarding as actually getting drunk, and less fun.

March 27, 2009 Full Review Source: FILMINK (Australia) | Comments (3)
FILMINK (Australia)

In the same way Good Night And Good Luck sends you hurtling for whisky and a Malboro, and Sideways prompts a pining for pinot noir, Bottle Shock will have you craving a chilled glass of Californian chardonnay.

March 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph (Australia)
Daily Telegraph (Australia)

Rickman is priceless as the self-parodying wine snob, stealing every scene he is in by continually pulling the rug from under himself.

March 27, 2009 Full Review Source: The Age (Australia)
The Age (Australia)

It's a triumph of the underdog film, but what it does have is a simply delicious performance by Alan Rickman, who does resigned disdain like no one else on screen.

March 27, 2009 Full Review Source: At the Movies (Australia)
At the Movies (Australia)

It's easy to take, enjoyable and escapist, and while it celebrates Californian wine making, it doesn't disparage the French.

March 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

. Like the chardonnay at the heart of the story, Bottle Shock is light with good body and plenty of flavour. It's also uplifting and amusing. In short, it makes you feel good.

March 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Alan Rickman plays the British wine expert who sponsors the test and is at his most comically feline. It's a great film about passion, eccentricity, families and... wine

March 19, 2009 Full Review Source: Teletext

Alan Rickman is one of my favorite actors, and I wanted to see Bottle Shock if only for his performance. Rickman's performance is great as usual, and Bottle Shock, despite some contrivance, is a very entertaining movie.

February 1, 2009 Full Review Source: Fayetteville Free Weekly
Fayetteville Free Weekly

What this film needed was a whole lot more scenes with the good actors and lot less scenes of those Ken and Barbie Doll types.

January 31, 2009 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

You can enjoy the mild bouquet of Bottle Shock as pleasantly sparkling, but it could have been plummier. Rickman sends up a full-bodied sneering British snob.

November 10, 2008 Full Review Source:

In light of all its swooping and swishing helicopter shots of the sun-dappled Napa Valley, [it] might as well have been photographed from the bridge of the Starship Enterprise.

October 22, 2008 Full Review Source: UGO

One of the year's most entertaining films.

October 1, 2008 Full Review Source:

Flat, musty and with a hint of flopsweat.

September 5, 2008
Salt Lake Tribune

It's such a rewarding movie going experience it's tempting to trot out all the adjectives generally used to describe a good wine. Not being a connoisseur I'll just say that it left me with a very pleasant buzz.

September 4, 2008 Full Review Source: Windy City Times
Windy City Times

Audience Reviews for Bottle Shock

"I really didn't care for the movie. It's just not my type of film; nor was I the right audience for it either. I still enjoyed bits of it. The acting is good by most and there was some funny moments too. Plus, just seeing Chris Pine in a blonde wig (I hope it was a wig) dancing around being a hippie was kinda worth it. Initially the actors are what drew me into seeing the film. I don't drink wine so the fascination and the different names and types were lost on me. I'm more of a whiskey kinda gal. So those of you who are a big fan of wine might like this much more then I ever will."
January 18, 2013

Super Reviewer

This is a nice little docu-dramedy concerning the turning point for California's wine industry. It's 1976 and a British wine snob named Steven Spurrier feels that no wine can compare to French wine. After hearing that Napa Valley has a growing industry, he decides to investigate, and see if these supposed hicks really have any idea what they're doing. He decides that a blind tasting to compare the California stock with France's finest is in order, but upon trying some of what California has to offer, he realizes there might actually be something promising with their offerings.

I was surprised by this. I didn't really know what to expect, but I found it rather enjoyable. Thankfully it's not a rip off of Sideways, just a different take on the some subject. Plus, this one's based on true events, and though it may be a formulaic and predictable underdog story, that doesn't mean it's no less a joy to watch.

I think it may have been better had it been a miniseries, as that would have allowed for all of the California vintners to be fully developed and profiled, instead of just a select few, but the gets across anyway. Alan Rickman is great though a bit on the nose as Spurrier. Bill Pullman is quite good as vintner Jim Barrett, and Chris Pine is a scene stealing delight as his hippie son Bo.

The film might not be anything fresh or outstanding, but it's nevertheless a nice little offering.
December 4, 2012
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Bottleshock is the story of the 1976 Paris Wine tasting and how a group of Winters from the Napa Valley in California outclassed the French Wines at the tasting. One of these wines is the now famous Chateau Montelena, the wine that beat the French. This film follows the story of Chateau Montelena as a British wine expert by the name of Steven Spurrier selects the best wines of the Napa Valley to compete against the best of the French. In his search, he is surprised at the quality of the wines and selects the Chateau Montelena along with a few other to compete. the Cheateau owner, Jim Barrett doesn't want to participate as he thinks it's a ploy to humiliate the Napa Valley vinters. However his son, Bo sends the bottles and ultimately is one of the wines selected to participate in the blind taste test. Bottle Shockj is a terrific film that blends comedy and drama, IU believe that this film has gotten a lot of unfair flack. Some people don't seem to realize how good this film really is. Sure, it's not flawless, but it's a well acted film about a very interesting, historical subject. Because after all the 1976 Paris Wine Tasting was a historical event, that changed the wine industry forever. The film has been said thats its less good than Sideways, well honestly, Sideways was overrated to the max and was a boring film that was a waste of a good cast. In my opinion, Bottle Shock is a superior film that shouldn't be dismissed so easily. A surprisingly good film.
June 2, 2011
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

i kinda liked it! i guess its not realy my cup of tea because of the story being entirely based on wine and about making or finding the perfect wine!!
i loved alan rickman he was the best bit of the film for me to be honest he was funny and entertaining to watch!!
Apart from alan rckman being funny this movie shouldnt be called a comedy because it just isnt that funny!!
A mediocre movie thats bound to entertain someone!!
April 19, 2010
Film Crazy

Super Reviewer

Movies Like Bottle Shock

    1. Jim Barrett: Not bad for a kid from the sticks.
    – Submitted by Frances H (11 months ago)
    1. Jim Barrett: A vineyard's best fertilizer is its owners footsteps.
    – Submitted by Frances H (11 months ago)
    1. Jim Barrett: People make pretty good wine in this area.
    – Submitted by Frances H (11 months ago)
    1. Jim Barrett: You're a snob. It limits you, of course.
    – Submitted by Frances H (11 months ago)
View all quotes (4)

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