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Ricki and the Flash

Meryl Streep may be one of the greatest actresses of all time, but she has also been in some clunkers in her illustrious career, and Ricki and the Flash is one of them. Why would she do such a thin, silly movie? One might think that her sole reason was to act alongside her daughter, the accomplished Mamie Gummer (The Good Wife), but surely there was a better vehicle than this to satisfy that desire.

The movie revolves around a 50-year-old rock ‘n’ roll singer named Ricki Rizzolo (Streep), who plays with her band every weekend in a sleazy bar in Tarzana, California. Ricki gets called back to her former husband and family in Indianapolis, Indiana, when her daughter tries to commit suicide after her husband leaves her. Wonderful themes like sacrificing everything to follow your dream, a mother’s love fills holes nothing else can fill, and the power of music to heal, are taken to ridiculous extremes in this farce of a script by former stripper Diablo Cody (Juno, Jennifer’s Body). The “sacrifice” Ricki makes is to leave her husband and three kids high and dry to run off to California to become a star. When she shows up in Indianapolis, Ricki is able in what seems like five minutes to get her severely depressed daughter to get cleaned up, get her hair done and buy a new dress, and worst of all at the end of the movie, Ricki shows up at her son’s wedding, plays him and his new bride a song and everybody lives happily ever after, dancing and holding each other close. At least when Shakespeare tried to pull off something like this, everybody knew he wasn’t serious.

The only reason to see Ricki and the Flash is to get to hear Rick Springfield, one of the most revered guitarists in rock history, play some energetic tunes, and it must be said that Streep holds her own in singing everything from U2 to Bruce Springsteen.

Drew Trotter

August 31, 2015

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