Directed by Alexander Payne, starring Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen and Sandra Oh.

When you think of two American men going on a boozy road trip to California, beer, American football, and pretzels probably come to mind first. These two do get drunk and have fun, but they do it with wine tastings, meals in plush restaurants and one or two trips to the golf course.

But then, showing a less obvious side to middle America is becoming a trademark of the work of director Alexander Payne ('Election', 'About Schmidt'), who also co-wrote the screenplay.

Miles (Giamatti) and Jack (Haden Church) seem like an odd twosome at first  - the former is introverted, neurotic, and obsessed with wine, while the latter is handsome, outgoing and dying to party with whatever plonk happens to be close to hand.

Yet they are actually closed matched because neither ended up where they wanted in life and both are at a crucial mid-life crossroads, the theme that forms the core of this film.

Their trip is supposed to be a celebration in the week before Jack gets married, but it soon emerges that both men want different things from their jaunt to the Santa Ynez Valley.

The groom-to-be just wants to get drunk and pull before his wedding day, while Miles is only interested in drinking gourmet wines while he waits for the call telling him his first novel will be published.

Jack wastes no time in chasing his desires, and despite his friend's best efforts to thwart him he ends up in bed with a local wine pourer (Oh). As much as he is disgusted with Jack and still burning from his divorce, Miles finds himself sleeping with a waitress who unexpectedly knows her Pinot from her Merlot (Madsen). Both end up with something other than what they bargained for, and their lives seem hanging on the edge of disaster as the big day approaches.

The interplay between the two male leads about their romantic affairs gives the film many of its funniest lines, and the clumsy, unplanned nature of their actions comes off as believable, making the scenes even funnier.

But there is a prop that enters centre stage and steals the show from all four actors – Miles can't stop talking about it and neither of them can stop drinking it.  Anyone that finds the details of wine varieties and production methods boring and slightly pretentious will sympathise with Jack, who couldn't care less that the cool ocean breeze is what prevents the fragile Californian Pinot grapes from overheating and thus making the local wine taste so good. Miles can't help himself, however, and almost ruins Jack's love mission by calling a wine "quaffable but not transcendent". Quite.

The comedy in this film is as mature and wryly observed as the '61 vintage in Miles' wine vault. If you're looking for a US road trip movie that has about as much in common with the likes of 'Dude, Where's My Car?' as the aforementioned bottle has with one from a supermarket bargain bin, then go see this film.

Keep an eye out for the hilariously-timed appearance of an image of George W Bush also. This movie will make you laugh out loud and want to rush out and drink some wine, but then both are good for the heart, so why not treat yourself?

Bill Lehane