Corked! -- Film Review

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CANNES -- A satire of "fine wine" has found its time. A mockumentary in the "Spinal Tap" tradition, "Corked!" pops off the pretensions of the Northern California wine community. This aromatic outing distills all the pretentious sniffing and snobbing that accompanies the wine biz.

Drier and frothier than recent mockumentaries made by recognized Hollywood comics, "Corked!" is a pithy delight. It's a brilliant lampoon of winemaking and will go well with either Milk Duds or organic popcorn.

If picked, this TriCoast Worldwide entertainment will entice on the select-site circuit, and perform superbly in festivals. With its ripe subject matter and brainy humor, "Corked!" could pop on cable outlets, from comedy channels to the food-stuff channels.

Written and directed by Ross Clendenen and Paul Hawley, "Corked!" blends the stories of four different, Northern California wineries. Poured out in a dead-on documentary style of interviews from vinters, wine critics, marketers and pickers, it's like to tantalize the funny-bones of all of us who have endured wine-connoisseur talk. Hilarious and smart, it never falls flat, only occasionally bursting its bubble of documentary plausibility. So well-honed is "Corked!" that many viewers are not going to realize it's a fictional entertainment.

Blue ribbons to filmmakers Clendenen and Hawley, and to their talented cast. In particular, plaudits to Todd Norris for his performance as a protector of the grapes, who blasts high-decibel jaguar sounds across the vineyards to startle starlings as well as other unsavory interlopers.

As two knucklehead wine-marketers, one in AA and the other a Bud man, Ben Tolpin and Rob Reinis are uproarious, while Ross Clendenen is perfect as a snooty, effete vineyard mogul.

Tech contributions are a perfect blend: Special praise to cinematographer/editor Miguel Medina for his acidic comic compositions and devilishly dry cuts.

Section: Market

Sales: TriCoast Worldwide
Production companies: TriCoast Worldwide and 28 Entertainment
Cast: Ross Clendenen, Ben Tolpin, Rob Reinis, Jeffrey Weissman, Devin Westberg, Martina Finch, Todd Norris.
Directors/Screenwriters: Ross Clendenen, Paul Hawley
Producer: Brian A. Hoffman
Director of photography/Editor: Miguel Medina
Music: Erin Davis, Dave Foley, Errol Reifman
No rating, 90 minutes.
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