Ricki and the Flash | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper


Ricki and the Flash

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



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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