RICKI AND THE FLASH (transfer) review

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These “transfer” reviews are from when I only did reviews on my Facebook page back in 2015. Bare in mind when reading these, I didn’t have the same formula in my review writing that I do now, and my usual “who starred and who directed” information is completely absent, so everything “italicized” is new. With that said, enjoy this review from 2015.

The moment this movie was released, I thought to myself that this was going to tank. Even the ever-popular Meryl Streep wouldn’t save it. I mean, this is obviously just another attempt for Streep to prove that she can sing. Even though neither MAMMA MIA nor INTO THE WOODS were great films (granted, I’ve never seen MAMMA MIA all the way through), the woman is persistent. But what really piqued my interest in the movie was the fact that it was written by Diablo Cody. Despite terrible word of mouth on RICKI, I couldn’t help but feel like MAYBE the reviews were false. In any case, I still didn’t have high hopes, but I wanted to be pleasantly surprised.

Starring: Meryl Streep (THE POST [2018], FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS [2016], and upcoming films MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN [2018] and MARY POPPINS RETURNS [2018]), Rick Springfield (1 episode of AMERICAN HORROR STORY [2011 – ongoing]), Kevin Kline (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST [2017] and DEAN [2017]), Mamie Gummer (THE END OF THE TOUR [2015], and the upcoming OUT OF BLUE [2018]), and Sebastian Stan (AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR [2018], I, TONYA [2017], CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR [2016], THE MARTIAN [2015], and upcoming films THE LAST FULL MEASURE [2018] and WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE [2018])

Director: Jonathan Demme (THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE [2004] and SILENCE OF THE LAMBS [1991])
Writer: Diablo Cody (TULLY [2018], and the upcoming BARBIE [2020])
Composer: None
Cinematographer: Declan Quinn (THE SHACK [2017])
Editor: Wyatt Smith (DOCTOR STRANGE [2016], and the upcoming MARY POPPINS RETURNS [2018])

This is my honest opinion of: RICKI AND THE FLASH

(SUMMARY)

Ricki (Meryl Streep) is a wannabe rock star with her band, The Flash, who never quite hit the big time. They released one record and that was it, spending their time in the local dive. Ricki isn’t rich, barely able to make ends meet, and still has to work a day job bagging groceries. Her life is turned upside down when she gets a call from her baby daddy Pete (Kevin Kline), that their daughter Julie (Mamie Gummer) is a depressed wreck after her husband left her. Spending every last penny she has on a plane ticket back home, she is met with hostility because Ricki left her family to pursue her dream of music. Not willing to back down, Ricki continues to try to be there for Julie, whom does accept that her mother is back and will try to reconnect.

(REVIEW)

Oh dear god, Cody… what happened? You have such great movies under your belt, with JUNO, YOUNG ADULT, and TV show UNITED STATES OF TARA. Hell, your worst credit was JENNIFER’S BODY, but even that knew what kind of movie it was and didn’t take itself seriously. Look, I don’t want to bash the film too brutally because this was apparently a personal piece of work for her, sort of based on her mother-in-law who was also fronting a bar band for years. But come on, you write better than this.

First of all, lets get this out of the way. Get your hate mail ready. I am not a fan of Streep. I KNOW, I know. I’m not saying she’s a BAD actress, but very few things I’ve seen her in have not annoyed me, or I just think her roles aren’t that impressive. Granted, there’s a few movies I haven’t seen with her in them (THE HOURS, JULIE & JULIA, THE IRON LADY), but everything else that I HAVE seen… I just don’t get the fuss. And RICKI is no different. Her performance is just awkward. I know she’s an aging rock star and that’s probably how they sound and act, but… damn, either she could have toned down the semi-over-the-top performance, or Cody could have written better dialog for her to work with, or the director Jonathan Demme, could have given better direction. Instead, her performance just didn’t seem genuine and more distracting.

Honestly, the only actor that really stood out for me was, ironically, Streeps real-life AND movie daughter Gummer. She delivers about the only genuine performance I can find that doesn’t feel stale. Julie is bitter, but she’s hurt. She’s loves her mom, but also keeps calling her by her given name, Linda. It’s a complicated relationship that only Gummer really does anything with. Oh, and Springfield’s performance is pretty good too. His character Greg is pretty likable for the most part, until they have to have banter on stage in front of an audience. In which case, the character becomes pretty childish.

Performances aside, my biggest issue with this movie is an issue that Cody has never had a problem with before: focus. This movie loses it. The first half of the movie is pretty standard. Broken family, trying to mend it, kind of succeeds, every synopsis basically says that Ricki is going home to be with her daughter who is depressed and suicidal. We the audience are left to believe that’s the story. And it is… for the first half of the movie. Then the movie throws a wedding at us that Ricki isn’t supposed to be a part of and then shifts the focus onto THAT bit of drama… well, glad to see all that tension between the mom and daughter is tucked away. And all it took was a mani pedi and a hair cut… riveting stuff. It’s almost like this was supposed to be a sequel of some kind and then decided, “@#$% it, this movie isn’t great, let’s just slap it on and save the studio the budget.” The second half of the movie is a rehash of the first half. Home playing music, somethings happening with her kid, she comes home and makes everything right… I’ve never seen such lazy writing from such a great writer. Please tell me this was someone else’s fault. Please tell me a studio executive got his dirty @#$%ing mitts on this project and @#$%ed it over. Then Cody, I will redirect my frustrations.

And oh my god that ending… @#$%ing ending would NOT shut up. It just kept going. I couldn’t walk out of the auditorium fast enough.

This movie is bad. It’s… just bad. It’s awkwardly acted, lazily written… only Gummer is the best part of the movie, but even she doesn’t save it.

My honest rating for RICKI AND THE FLASH: 2/5

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