A mediocre vintage: crowe coasts in obvious romantic farce


Published November 15, 2006

Based on the lukewarm novel by Peter Mayle, its no surprise that "A Good Year" falls short of becoming a heartfelt romance. The parts are all there: the glorious French countryside, a romantic vineyard, plenty of warm sunlight and a lost man (Russell Crowe, "Cinderella Man") struggling to reconcile his love for his late uncle. Yet what the film lacks is exactly what Max Skinner lacks - a sense of stability and purpose.

Crowe plays a ruthless English investor whose manipulation of the stock market has earned him equal amounts of money and infamy. Like the archetypal Scrooge, he has no regard for anyone but himself - and the occasional well-endowed woman. After one of his latest borderline-illegal swindles, Max is annoyed to find that his estranged Uncle Henry (Albert Finney, "Big Fish") has passed away and left him a run-down ch