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Ricki and the Flash

Meryl Streep can do anything, including injecting some verve into this wearingly familiar reconciliation tale

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In this light dramedy penned by Diablo Cody (Juno) and directed by Jonathan Demme, a woman who chose her rock ’n’ roll career over family makes an effort to get to know her long-estranged adult children. 

America’s Actress, Meryl Streep — bless her heart and horrible side braids — has cheerfully donned this gaudy coat of a Lifetime movie, and through the sheer force of her on-screen skills, manages to make it look kinda fun to wear. Nothing you’d ever keep in your closet, mind you, but maybe on somebody else … it kinda works.

Streep is Ricki, a middle-aged woman who has followed her dreams of rock stardom to a bar in Tarzana, where she belts out classic rock for an appreciative audience of a dozen or so. I liked these scenes, and would have watched a whole shaggy-dog movie about Ricki and her band of old-timers (including Rick Springfield) playing Tom Petty, Roxy Music and — lol — Lady Gaga, while assorted barflies and divorcees told their tales over Miller Lites.

But there’s Ricki’s other family, a well-to-do crew she left back in Indiana, and a crisis with her daughter (real-life daughter Mamie Gummer) that brings her back into their orbit. And you know it’s all going to work out, and Ricki is gonna grow up a bit, and there will be a wedding where everybody will sing along and, yes this is all terribly familiar. But everybody works hard to sell it, to pretend that the work is a bit deeper and sharper than it is, and Streep and Gummer deserve props for hitting a few satisfying tart notes.


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