(One of several reviews written for Publishers Weekly; as seen on the book jacket and on Amazon.com.)
Two old friends set out for a weeklong romp through Santa Ynez, Calif., wine country that comically strains their friendship in Pickett’s lively debut. Smart, hapless narrator Miles is divorced and broke, and his novel’s been rejected all over town. His handsome, “ursine” best friend, Jack, a successful actor, is about to get married, and wants to enjoy a few last days of freedom. Pickett gleefully chronicles their many minor adventures, including the oversexed Jack’s attempts at getting laid, a boar-hunting episode and a staged car accident. Add to that massive amounts of wine: oenophile Miles swills rather than sips, and Jack’s always been a party guy. While Jack works his charm on the ladies, Miles has his own flirtation with a lovely waitress. Miles can be a delightful narrator, but he’s no prince: he’s a bore when it comes to wine, for example, and he can get a little pseudophilosophical (“photos mock the present by staring back at us with their immutable luster of our youthful past”). He also thinks nothing of snatching a couple thousand dollars from his alcoholic mother on her birthday. But redemption for all is promised and Pickett takes his readers on a jolly ride. His novel sounds like a perfect buddy flick, and indeed, it will have its chance: Alexander Payne (About Schmidt; Election) is directing it for Fox Searchlight.