RICKI AND THE FLASH Review — Can Meryl Streep Rock It?

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Ricki and the Flash ReviewRicki and the Flash has all the ingredients of a fabulous film: written by Diablo Cody (Juno, Young Adult), directed by Jonathan Demme (That Thing You Do, The Manchurian Candidate) and stars Kevin Kline as Ricki’s ex-husband, Meryl freakin’ Streep as Ricki, and Streep’s real life daughter, Mami Gummer, as Ricki’s daughter in the film. Not to mention Rick Springfield doing an outstanding job as Flash lead guitarist and Ricki’s love interest. So why am I not raving about this movie?

I think it has to do with the film’s lazy predictability and the dead space in the middle. It starts out just fine — we find Streep, an aging rocker who personifies the term “rode hard and put away wet,” and her equally threadbare band, performing to a handful of shabby fans in a seedy club in Tarzana. She gets a call from her ex stating that their daughter is having a life crisis and needs her mother, whom she hasn’t seen in years. So Ricki flies off, guitar in hand, to her ex’s new midwestern mansion. What happens when she reunites with her family is surprising and touching, so why send her back to L.A. before the film is even halfway through?

It’s apparent that Ricki needs to learn a few more life lessons, and it’s convenient that she sorts it all out in time to fly back to her family for the seminal moment when she will attempt to heal all wounds with a song. And I’m not giving away anything you haven’t already seen in the trailer.

Now there are those who say that Streep’s stellar performance as a never-was rocker trying to redeem herself overcomes all the film’s other slight flaws. And I will say that Streep is excellent, as always. But because of what she’s been given to work with, she reminds me a little too much of that burnt out high school friend who found you on Facebook and now calls you when she’s drunk and needs money. She’s a little too abrasive and awkward to be endearing, but you just can’t look away.

Rated PG-13

1 Hour 47 Minutes

Get times and tickets at Fandango.com.

RICKI AND THE FLASH Review –Does Meryl Streep Rock It?

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

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