‘Ricki and the Flash,’ the latest star vehicle for perfect human Meryl Streep, is about to hit theaters which means reviews are pouring in. Has Lady Streep just secured herself another Oscar or is the flick a bunch of fluff?
In Ricki and the Flash, which opens officially on Aug. 7, Ricki Rendazzo (Meryl Streep) revisits the life and family she once left behind in pursuit of a career in rock and roll. However, her ex-husband (Kevin Kline) and children (one of whom is played by Meryl’s real-life daughter, Mamie Gummer) are hardly jumping at the opportunity to accept the woman who abandoned them back into their lives. It’s a story which could be a poignant commentary on the reconciliation of family with pursuing one’s dreams, or one which could easily ricochet into dramatized cliche. Which is it? Check out some reviews!
Director Jonathan Demme and screenwriter Diablo Cody, both Oscar winners, have made far better films. Still, Ricki raises smart questions about why a mother’s musical ambitions are so much more selfish than, say, seven-time dad Mick Jagger’s, and even the shamelessly corny sing-along finale wrings a few real tears out.
The screenplay by Diablo Cody doesn’t cut as deep as it might, yet its combination of the glib and the bittersweet, as filtered through Demme’s earnest lens, is sure to connect with audiences — especially older viewers eager to see the star mixing it up with her real-life daughter, Mamie Gummer, and ’80s poster boy Rick Springfield. But even with its well-observed moments, the movie’s nonmusical interactions, whether reaching for laughs or poignancy, too often feel flat and forced.
It takes just five seconds to realise that this will be a memorable movie. There’s the opening jangly chords to Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker’s “American Girl,” and then in close-up, Meryl Streep with ratty braids, bad makeup and a bold, deep, rockin’ voice. It’s no surprise Streep can sing – she’s proven she can do anything. In Ricki and the Flash, from director Jonathan Demme and screenwriter Diablo Cody, she’s something she’s rarely been before. She’s badass.
Like David Bowie joining Bing Crosby for a medley of Christmas carols, Ricki and the Flash combines a number of promising elements that don’t seem to have any business being anywhere near each other, though the disconnect exerts a strange appeal all its own. Offering half an acerbic family dramedy (from screenwriter Diablo Cody in Young Adult mode), and half a Jonathan Demme-directed concert pic that just happens to feature Meryl Streep as the frontwoman, this is a shaggy, easily distractible film that consistently defies expectations to both charming and baffling effect.
Okay, HollywoodLifers, you’ve read the reviews and now it’s your turn! Let us know, do you plan to check out Ricki and the Flash?
— Casey Mink