More boozy product placement

CostnerPerilous product placement of potent potables pays off in The Upside of Anger. New Line Cinema’s genial, novelistic narrative, which opens Friday, features Kevin Costner as a retired ex-baseball star who insinuates himself into the family crisis of an acid-tongued, spouse-scorned Detroit suburbanite played by Joan Allen. They blend deliriously in a Days of Wine and Roses retro stew: They’re both intermittently loveable and sullen drunks. In the politically correct era, it’s comedy as refreshing as a wine spritzer.

Costner’s Denny prefers 16-ounce cans of Budweiser, a brand signifying his manly athletic tastes and practical, unpretentious habits (he is, after all, the romantic hero, even when he’s in his cups). Allen’s Terry emanates an imperious sangfroid, but she’s got impeccable Martha Stewart style, so her liquor shopping becomes a top-drawer advertisement for Grey Goose. Terry pulls down two bottles (no price tags legible), thinks about the evening ahead, then yanks down a third liter. Sure, she’s rich, but the gesture has the effect of making the super-premium vodka seem at once terribly accessible and yet the choice of really classy alcoholics. Not since Suntory whisky got the Bill Murray endorsement in Lost in Translation has a spirit gotten such screen time.

—Posted by Gregory Solman

Movie still: New Line Cinema

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