With baby boomers now being such a significant portion of the population, it makes sense that studios would be making films to target this demographic. Movies such as ‘Last Vegas’ and ‘And So It Goes’ aim to remind us that life doesn’t end at 50, and older people suffer the same passions, joys and heartbreaks as the young.
‘Ricki and the Flash’ is another one of these baby boomer movies starring the inimitable Meryl Steep as Ricki, a 60-something rocker refusing to grow old and take responsibility. She has nightly gigs with her band The Flash, which includes her lover Greg (Rick Springfield). Greg wants a commitment, but Ricki won’t even acknowledge that they’re dating. When Ricki’s ex-husband Pete (Kevin Kline) calls with news that their daughter Julie’s (Streep’s real life daughter Mamie Gummer) marriage has ended, a broke Ricki flies out to spend time with the family. Awkwardness ensues with Ricki’s two sons: Josh getting married, and Adam angry that Ricki hasn’t acknowledged his homosexuality. Further tension arises when not only does Pete’s wife Mo (Audra McDonald) feels Ricki is overstepping with Julie, but Josh (Sebastian Stan from the ‘Captain America' franchise) admits he doesn’t want Ricki at his wedding. Ricki soon feels she’s outstayed her welcome, despite having singlehandedly brought Julie out of her funk, and flies home.
Back on stage, Ricki finds the experience with her family has given her a new perspective, and when Mo offers an olive branch in the form of a wedding invitation, Ricki and Greg attend, bringing with them the best wedding gift they can offer.
All that sounds pretty good, right? With Oscar winning director Jonathan Demme ('The Silence of the Lambs') and the most award-nominated actress of all time starring, you would think this film would be a winner... Sorry.
‘Ricki and The Flash’ is boring. Predictable, pedestrian and staid. Maybe that’s what they were aiming for, hoping not to raise the blood pressure of their target audience - but if so, that’s a little insulting. This film is confused as to what it’s trying to be. It’s not emotional enough to be a proper Streep-style drama, and not nearly funny enough to be a comedy. Mostly it’s just painfully awkward.
‘Ricki and The Flash’ is boring. Predictable, pedestrian and staid.
You can’t really fault the cast, with Kline, Springfield and Gummer putting in excellent supporting performances (though Gummer’s messy depression outfit was a bit over-the-top). Meryl Streep might have been spectacular in ‘Mama Mia’ but here something doesn’t feel quite right. A little like her performance as Margaret Thatcher in ‘The Iron Lady’, there’s something off about it. Maybe it’s not Meryl herself but the flatness of the material. There’s nothing exciting or even interesting about ‘Ricki and The Flash’ and while the film tries hard to drive the point home (whatever it is), it’s still unfocussed and disappointing.
The soundtrack should be amazing, but again, it’s just mediocre. There are a couple decent covers by Meryl and her band, but a few real disasters too (a Lady Gaga cover, for example). Ricki’s original song ‘Cold One’ isn’t bad, and had there been more of that quality in the film the soundtrack might have been something else.
This might be a decent Christmas present for your Streep-fan grandma on Blu-ray or DVD. However, in not only my opinion, but my baby boomer viewing companion’s, it’s not worth your evening at the cinemas.