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CHATEAU MEROUX (DVD) WENDY, A SMART SINGLE WOMAN IN THE BIG CITY WHO'S NEVER BEEN ABLE TO FIND A GOOD JOB OR DECENT RELATIONSHIP. BUT WHEN HER ESTRANGED FATHER DIES, WENDY SUDDENLY INHERITS A BEAUTIFUL - YET STRUGGLING - NAPA VALLEY WINERY.
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Marla Sokoloff, who makes a living off these kind of movies ("Gift of the Magi", "Christmas in Boston"; she's also scheduled to star in a modern remake of Sense and Sensibility, called "Scents and Sensibility"- can't get enough of Austen in my book) plays a struggling to find herself single girl who inherits a vineyard from her estranged father.
With her guy-hating, guy-hunting girlfriend, Amanda Righetti("The Mentalist")they go about trying to save the place while competing with a devious neighbor, Christopher Lloyd(looks good in white) and being wooed by his handsome son, Barry Watson.
There's romance and conflict in the air along with the inevitable come to terms with what's really important: true love or greed. And, of course, will he come through for her, and will she forgive him; will she find herself and forgive her father? And herself?
Yes, and that's fine. The country setting, filming, hip music, and actors are all nice. The story's a bit flat and not as amusing as they want it to be. It's PG-13, and there's a fair amount of sexual references or innuendo. It dulls the romance. For example, in one scene, the heroine inadvertantly meets the hero in a small grocery store, and seeing condoms in his shopping basket offers to pay for them since he paid for her gas when her credit card wouldn't work. I guess that could be funny. He's a virile male; she gives him her phone number, and they have a good laugh. Ugh. I think they needed a woman on the screenplay.
Overall, it offers sentiment consistent with a potentially good but flawed, romantic comedy: love conquers all, some quirky but mostly fun characters, beautiful scenery. It's diverting for an hour and half on a rainy day, but I wouldn't watch again. I'll drag out one of my Austen's instead!
Move on to greener pastures folks...nothing to see here.