Review: Ricki and the Flash

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PG-13, 101 minutes

If there’s nothing more exhilarating in a movie theater than finding a wonderful film where you didn’t expect, then little is more depressing than walking out let down by a movie you had awaited with enthusiasm. Such was the case for me and “Ricki and the Flash.”

I think Meryl Streep is the finest actor working in film today, and operate under the general assumption that having her in the cast makes anything worth the price of admission. And while “Ricki” certainly isn’t a bad flick, it’s got too many obvious problems in its structure and execution to ever had a chance at being good.

Streep plays a woman who ran out on her family decades ago to pursue her rock ‘n’ roll dreams on the West Coast. She never made it big, but continues to entertain at night while working days as a checkout clerk. Then Ricki gets the call that her daughter, Julie (Mamie Gummer, Streep’s real-life kid), is in a bad way after a terrible breakup.

You can’t go home again, at least not without stirring up old heartbreak, as Ricki discovers in a by-the-numbers trip through resentment and buried longing. Streep’s great as always, but “Ricki and the Flash” gets the basic chords wrong.

 

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