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Sideways (2004)


Average Rating: 8.5/10
Reviews Counted: 223
Fresh: 215
Rotten: 8

Critics Consensus: Charming, thoughtful, and often funny, Sideways is a decidedly mature road trip comedy full of excellent performances.

Average Rating: 8.7/10
Reviews Counted: 48
Fresh: 46
Rotten: 2

Critics Consensus: Charming, thoughtful, and often funny, Sideways is a decidedly mature road trip comedy full of excellent performances.


Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 195,533


Movie Info

A wine tasting road trip to salute Jack's final days as a bachelor careens woefully sideways as he and Miles hit the gas en route to mid-life crises. The comically mismatched pair, who share little more than their history and a heady blend of failed potential and fading youth, soon find themselves drowning in wine and women. Emerging from a haze of pinot noir, wistful yearnings and trepidation about the future, the two inevitably collide with reality.

R (for language, some strong sexual content and nudity)
Drama , Romance , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
Alexander Payne , Jim Taylor
In Theaters:
Apr 5, 2005
Box Office:
Fox Searchlight Pictures - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Sideways

All Critics (223) | Top Critics (48) | Fresh (215) | Rotten (8) | DVD (41)

Payne does know how to capture two kinds of male menopause. But I can't say he ever surprised me.

Full Review… | February 13, 2012
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Sideways stays resolutely life-size. And that, in this age of hype and hyperventilation, may be the most radical thing about it.

Full Review… | November 1, 2007
Top Critic

Intelligent, funny and moving.

Full Review… | May 21, 2005
Time Out
Top Critic

Payne has made a movie for the same sorts of people, one with body and 'nose' and character that movie lovers will savor long after the credits have rolled.

Full Review… | November 19, 2004
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

This isn't the sort of road comedy we're used to seeing. Its humor is more likely to provoke smiles and light chuckles than guffaws.

Full Review… | November 12, 2004
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

Much like Altman, Hal Ashby and Billy Wilder -- three filmmakers whose movies are celebrated for their naturalism, their humanism and their wicked, often merciless satire -- Payne makes films about ordinary people with their rumples and flaws left intact,

Full Review… | November 12, 2004
Miami Herald
Top Critic

Payne's most enjoyable movie since Election

Full Review… | May 24, 2013
Old School Reviews

Excellent but explicit movie is not for kids.

Full Review… | December 28, 2010
Common Sense Media

"Sideways" is about wine aged to perfection sipped by men who've aged to mediocrity - softer, hornier versions of Walter and The Dude. But Miles's brutal honesty is its soul. He's annoyingly, depressingly out there, but never fraudulent.

Full Review… | October 1, 2010

Giamatti handily raises what could've been a pedestrian road trip romance into the stratosphere of a world-class character study

Full Review… | September 3, 2010
Cinema Writer

A very memorable slice of life.

Full Review… | April 29, 2009
Cinema Crazed

This wonderfully satisfying study in human nature is funny and sad and profoundly entertaining from start to finish.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Urban Cinefile

Sideways is the first of Payne's films in which we have the chance to really care for the characters; he reins in his harsh satire better than before.

September 7, 2007
Looking Closer

No one does quivering-on-the-edge-of-depression quite like Paul Giamatti.

Full Review… | July 14, 2007
Big Picture Big Sound

This one's like to appeal greatly to the 30-40 somethings that are getting more and more into bourgeois sports such as yachting, polo or wine tasting.

Full Review… | June 21, 2007
Film Scouts

The year's second best movie about broken and lonely people (after Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind).

October 11, 2006
Christianity Today

In Payne's overarching triumph, Sideways is a sensitive, to the point of disturbing, expose of that can blossom with that high school hallway sweetness even in the withered garden of midlife.

Full Review… | September 27, 2006

click to read article [Greek]

Full Review… | September 10, 2006
Movies for the Masses

Brilliantly observed characters are becoming second nature to Payne and Taylor, and the performances here are uniformly terrific. This is wonderful, original stuff.

Full Review… | April 1, 2006
Empire Magazine

A study of friendship, disappointment and self-deception, Sideways, directed by Alexander Payne, has at its centre the most leisurely of bachelor parties: it's a road movie that stops off at vineyards.

Full Review… | January 17, 2006
Sydney Morning Herald

...a leisurely paced film about introspection, neurosis and finding tranquility.

Full Review… | July 25, 2005

Sideways is non-mainstream pretentiousness done right

Full Review… | July 6, 2005

Sideways is a darkly comical and courageous journey of two ordinary middle-aged men whose only aspirations are to move forward in life.

Full Review… | July 5, 2005

A relentless and painfully funny critique of masculine pretense and selfishness, of which wine fetishism is the apotheosis.

Full Review… | June 21, 2005
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

Audience Reviews for Sideways



Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Engaging, well-paced, and ultimately satisfying, Sideways is an enjoyable, well-acted comedy that features tender moments, strong writing, and subtle humor.


Humanistic, comedic, dark and bittersweet, Sideways is a film that is temporarily moving, and has certain staying power. It creates a fracas, as two best friends see the underbelly of the middle of their lives, while preparing for marriage, the beginnings of a life after divorce, and despairing over the evils of old age. Buddies Miles and Jack road trip to wine country, which ferments the rest of the film in a drunken regard. Between showing drunk Miles pitching away his life again and again, at the bottom of a wine glass, and Jack throwing himself at every woman who moves, it's a nice contrast between two pathetic men showing their true colors in different ways. Giamatti is certainly one of the best character actors of his generation and shows his resolute grace in a role that was made for a sad sack with a penchant for the dramatic. The two friends seem unevenly matched, as Jack wants to be a wild child in the heart of California country, while Miles wants to golf, taste the wine, and bask in sophisticated luxury. They bicker as an old married couple and each gets stranded along the way in their own self-pity and gluttony. Once their female companions (Virginia Madsen and Sandra Oh) enter the fray it becomes a love story, one that is awkward and slow, but real and heartbreaking. Between Giamatti and Madsen is the greatest friction and watchability. I couldn't quite get behind Jack (Thomas Hayden Church) who flees from his infidelities with such pathetic irony that it's hard to keep listening. Giamatti comes out the victor of the film, the only one to gain any pride or closure from the trip, or his plight for self-discovery. It's a film about the chances we take and the decisions that bring us happiness rather than self-implosion.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

A very smart, poignant, well written film that is loaded with hilarity. I can't think of a better or more talented cast for a film about finding oneself during a mid-life crisis in California's wine country.

Jack is about to get married, and decides to spend the week before the wedding living it up in California's wine country. Accompanying him is his neurotic, sad sack teacher/best friend Miles, a real wine snob. The two spend a lot of time enjoying wine, women, and life, and also trying to deal with midlife crises and life choices.

The film, typical of Payne's work, is a nice bittersweet mixture of funny and sad, but it's got an undeniable realness about it, so, despite some uncomfortableness now and then, it works quite well and makes it easier to relate to.

The cast was perfectly picked, and they give some Oscar caliber performances. It's just too bad they all got snubbed. At least this film got a Best Picture nod, even if it too got snubbed.

I suppose this film is the source of annoyance and irritation for people who work at liquor stores and wineries, having to deal with people who go to rip on merlot or pick up some pinot noir, but hey, at least it's a sign this movie was watched and enjoyed by people.

Give this one a shot. It's a touching and nice film that really sings. It's incredibly well written, directed, and acted, and is probably Payne's best film, which is really saying something given his track record.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Sideways Quotes

Miles Raymond:
Quaffable but far from transcending.
– Submitted by Gusto G (2 years ago)
Jack Lapate:
See? rigth there... that's beautiful. A smudge of excrement... I could never write that.
– Submitted by Jorge T (2 years ago)
Jack Lapate:
Youre a bad, bad, girl Stephanie.
I know and I need to be spanked.
– Submitted by Mandy S (3 years ago)
Miles Raymond:
It tastes like the back of a fucking L.A. school bus. Now they probably didn't de-stem, hoping for some semblance of concentration, crushed it up with leaves and mice, and then wound up with this rancid tar and turpentine bullshit. Fuckin' Raid.
Jack Lapate:
Tastes pretty good to me.
– Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
Jack Lapate:
Listen, man. Cammi gets off in an hour, so I was thinking I'd just hang around and have a drink, and make sure she gets home safe.
– Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
Jack Lapate:
If they want to drink Merlot, we're drinking Merlot.
Miles Raymond:
No, if anyone orders Merlot, I'm leaving. I am NOT drinking any fucking Merlot!
– Submitted by Jake R (3 years ago)

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