Who's in It:
Russell Crowe, Albert Finney, Marion Cotillard, Abbie Cornish, Didier Bourdon, Freddie Highmore
The Basics: Heartless business guy with lots of money decides to try the simple life on a gorgeous vineyard in Provence he just inherited. Then he meets hot women. Wouldn't it be more meaningful if he had to figure out how to love life while working in a factory or something? Isn't it kind of, I don't know, really, really easy to learn to appreciate the simple things when you're lounging around the beautiful French countryside?
What's the Deal? When Hollywood phonies decide to preach about "what really matters" to audiences, they usually like to make sure it's wrapped in swaddling luxury. That way you can pretend you're rich for two hours and get that sense of escape you go to movies for, while still feeling like you always knew the life lessons the main character has to learn in the third act. You also get to feel superior to that character instead of seething with envy over the fancy lifestyle you probably don't have. Meanwhile, they still get your money. It helps pay the property taxes on the director's vineyard in Provence.
Why This Movie Was Made: The thing about the director's vineyard? I wasn't making that up. Sir Ridley Scott has one in Provence. His pal Peter Mayle lives there, too. He's the guy who wrote the book this movie's based on. They thought it would be awesome to make a movie there and invite Russell Crowe and his family to come spend a little vacation time in France. So they did. This is like someone else's fake home movie.
There's a Dog in This Movie Named Tati: As in Jacques Tati, the great old French director. That dog pees on Crowe's shoes. And that's the funny part of the movie. Are you laughing yourself silly yet?
But: It's pretty. Pretty, pretty, pretty. Pretty people and pretty scenery and pretty everything. Pretty. Also pretty boring and lame.