Ricki and The Flash: Film Review
Cast: Meryl Streep, Rick Springfield, Kevin Kline, Mamie Gummer
Director: Jonathan Demme
Meryl Streep gets her ageing rock on with this fairly cliched family drama flick from the director of The Silence of The Lambs and from the writer of Juno, Diablo Cody.
Streep plays Ricki, the singer of a house band which plays a residence at a knock-down bar. Financially defeated and oblivious to the world around her, especially her estranged family, Ricki gets a call from her ex-husband Pete (Kevin Kline) to tell her that her daughter Julie (Streep's real-life daughter Gummer) is depressed following the end of her marriage.
So, against her best wishes, Ricki heads home to the family she's avoided for years and to the tensions she ran away from to become a Californian rocker.
Ricki and The Flash is exactly what you'd expect from a family kitchen sink drama of someone reuniting and reconnecting with those who used to be around them.
Looking like an older version of Freaky Friday's Tess Coleman complete with side plait and dark eye shadow, Streep personifies the old rocker and scatty human well in the early stages of the film before it lapses into the usual trite conventions of its genre and barely walks the tightrope between the family drama and romcom.
Against a soft-spoken and sardonic Kline as the dad, Gummer's spikiness and fragility is well-observed as the daughter on the edge, but like the rest of the supporting characters (particularly her two sons), she falls by the wayside for Streep's character.
One of the main problems is the relatively corny, yet occasionally honest, film simply becomes a thinly veiled facade for Streep to perform a series of soft rock covers with a band, rather than fuel and further the narrative, which becomes more and more sidelined. It's almost like Meryl Streep - The Concert Album.
Some insights into a woman who chooses her career over her family are thrown out during a moment of implosion on stage, but the final redemption and forgiveness are too easily gifted to those who need them in Ricki and The Flash.
While Streep remains a presence in this flick, Ricki and The Flash is more about the guilt trip, than the overall trip. Despite the presence of the usually insightful Cody, underwritten family characters detract from the earnestness and a meandering final third make it feel like more of a drag than it should be as it ambles towards its obvious conclusion.