Ricki and the Flash (Review)
By Aric Sweeny
“Ricki and the Flash,” at its core, is a family drama relying on Streep’s performance and live music to keep the audience engaged for its 102 minute runtime.
It stars Meryl Streep as Ricki Rendazzo, a mother who gave up her life as a parent to pursue dreams of Rock’n’Roll. Her band, “The Flash”, frequent a small, but faithful, bar in California; they are a favorite among the locals. Ricki gets a call from her ex husband Pete (Kevin Kline), where she is informed that her daughter, Julie (Mamie Gummer), has gone through a breakup and is currently in need of help. With this news in mind, Ricki hops on a plane to Indianapolis in hopes of restoring connection with the daughter, and family, she left behind.
Thanks to the Streep’s performance and the writing, Ricki provides the audience with a somewhat crazy and unpredictable character, fitting perfectly with the tone of the film. That being said, she is really the only interesting and fleshed out role among the bunch. It seemed as though they would begin to give a character an ark or reason to have screen time, and then move on to the next. Gummer and Streep, somehow, fail to capture that daughter-mother bond that exists, despite the fact that they are actually mother and daughter. Ricki’s two sons, Josh (Sebastian Stan) and Adam (Nick Westrate), give adequate performances, but nothing special.
The scenes that show Ricki’s band and her rocking out on stage are definitely the most fun had in the theater during this film. Streep actually singing is also a plus. Rick Springfield plays the lead guitarist in “The Flash,” and you could feel the authenticity.
Towards the beginning, “Ricki and the Flash” had its comedic moments, but those were extinguished in the last half hour.
This film seemed to forget what it was mid way through. a Comedy? Drama? It ended up being a poor mixture of both, unfortunately. Well executed Comedy/Drama movies can be made, but this wasn’t one of them.
Aside from “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga, all the songs played matched the vibe of the film. “Bad Romance” was played with the intention of ‘being new and hip’, failing to hit it’s mark.
Looking back, “Ricki and the Flash” is an extremely forgettable film, with no redeeming qualities besides it’s live music and well executed performance from Streep. Catch this film on cable, it’s not worthy of an experience at the cinema. (102 minutes)