Ricki and the Flash (2015)

(On Cable TV, April 2016) I only saw Ricki and the Flash because of “Meryl Streep as an aging rocker” and after watching the film, I can confirm that “Meryl Streep as an aging rocker” is pretty much the only reason you need. Here, Streep plays an older woman who has sacrificed everything (including a marriage and three children) to music. Her nights playing at a local bar may still be glamorous, but her days as a cashier aren’t. Things start to change when she finds herself drawn to reconciliation after her daughter goes through a suicidal depression. Much family comedy/drama ensues, with Kevin Kline playing back-up as her ex-husband. While Ricki and the Flash is written by Diablo Cody, there’s little here to wow anyone: Much of the film seems tepid, chugging along to a halfway-celebratory conclusion. There are some pacing issues, most notably in the last half-hour where the film slows rather than pick up to a conclusion. Streep remains the film’s best asset throughout, picking up a guitar and credibly signing in-between an unusually sympathetic of a woman who may or may not have screwed up her life. At least she can still sing and carry a tune, which is what the curiously pat ending stops at. Ricki and the Flash is obviously aimed at a particular public, meaning that anyone who falls out of it is likely to find it a bit lengthy and flat. Streep’s pretty good, though, if that hasn’t been said enough already.

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