August 12, 2015
Movie Review: Ricki and the Flash **
I couldn't wait to see her new film, Ricki and the Flash, because I saw the trailer and thought it had to be so much fun. But if you've seen the trailer you've seen the best of this film, and you haven't had to sit through at least an hour of Meryl Streep singing.
I love that Streep sings, even though she's not that good. I love that she learned to play the guitar for this film (what can't she do?). I love that she and her daughter Mamie get to play mother and daughter.
That's all good.
What's not good is that everything else is too much in this film, beginning with a big, distracting rat's nest on the back of Mamie's head, just in case the sallow makeup didn't make it clear to us that she'd been so depressed that she hadn't showered or washed her hair. Too much. Wouldn't her mother comb that out before they left the house? And because we probably still didn't get the depth of her depression, she goes out to dinner in her pajamas and slippers.
See? Too much.
And then there's the singing, which is waaaaaay too much; this fictional band does at least six numbers. That'd be great if it were Paul McCartney or Taylor Swift (or even if we could hear more of Rick Springfield), but it's Meryl Streep. And while she's fine in this singing role (maybe 'passable' is a better word), she's not a great singer so one or two numbers would have gotten the point across, and would have been plenty. Instead of wasting so much time on mediocre singing, tell the damn story. Get into the characters so we can feel invested in them. Give us some history. Flesh them out. Give them some dimension. Don't put me to sleep.
And then there's Streep's performance, which is too much, which means the directing is too much. The usually subtle Meryl plays this role too big. It's so unlike her.
Oh, and those braids are too much.
On the plus side, Rick Springfield is great fun to look at, as is Kevin Kline, and both their performances are really good.
Two stars out of five for Ricki and the Flash.