There is an infinitesimal danger in an actress attaining the standing of Meryl Streep. Alongside the incredible body of work, the boggling amounts of talent and delightful self-deprecating charm comes the capacity to make any film into a Meryl Streep Movie, nay a Streep Cinematic Sensation.
In actual fact, Ricki and the Flash is more like a Streep family home movie: Sure, it has a bunch of impressive actors in it, including Streep’s real-life daughter, and they’re having fun, but you shouldn’t sell tickets to it.
Streep is Ricki, who left her family decades ago to pursue a dream of being a rock star in California. Now, she returns to Indiana and the gated community home of her husband (Kevin Kline) and three grown children, when her only daughter is left by her own husband.
A loaded, layered, family drama reveling in the pathos and comedy of generations of family break up should ensue. It really, really doesn’t.
There are hints of the emotional jigsaw puzzle that we should be allowed time to dwell over, but the few family scenes are smashed through in the first act, in some paint-by-numbers pale impression of a narrative.
The sacrifice is made to make room for a succession of soft rock covers.
Streep already had her own high budget karaoke party in Mamma Mia!, so it is unforgiveable that, instead of a second act, we get her and Rick Springfield delivering song after full-length song, with a bonus none-too-subtle sermon about the inequality of attitudes towards absentee mothers and fathers.
By the time the film line dances into a third act – where singing and family combine – even the magical Meryl can’t save this from irrelevance.
Ricki and the Flash promises a Meryl Streep Masterpiece but delivers a 2 star cover act instead.
‘Ricki and the Flash’ movie times