Who expected a sequel to Sideways? That’s like a two-for-one deal on a 1974 Richebourg. Nevertheless, Alexander Payne’s acclaimed comic ode to wine, women, and the little lies — all right, massive whoppers — that sustain men comes complete with a gut-busting commentary track that mayas well be titled Sideways 2. On it, actors Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church let rip with the simple joy of cracking each other up. ”You’re the Underwood Deviled Ham guy of incredulity in this scene,” kvells Church to his costar at one point, to which Giamatti replies thoughtfully, ”You’re right… I am the Underwood Deviled Ham man.” Other subjects covered include Giamatti’s ”perky man-breasts” (”You do have mancans.” ”It’s my gift to America”), the fact that the house where the Giant Naked Guy lives was previously a meth lab and the set de-signer hardly changed a thing, and the true meaning of ”Frass Canyon” (it’s not pretty).
The film, as ever, is a distressingly funny symphony of male jerkery — ”a picture laden with canards,” as Professor Church reminds us — that gets you to sympathize with these lost boys against all common sense. (Invite your own buddies over for some pinot and a screening and count how many times they flinch.) A handful of deleted scenes show how Payne deftly kept the film from going completely over to the dark side, but there’s one keeper: Church’s Jack waxing outrageously lubricious about Madsen’s Maya. As Giamatti notes to his costar in the commentary, ”Well done sir.” Indeed.