Movie: Ricki And The Flash
Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)
Review: Linda Rendazzo (Meryl Streep) doesn’t like to go by her given name. She goes by Ricki, because in her heart she’s a rock and roll singer, and in fact she’s the lead singer for a local Los Angeles bar band Ricki and the Flash. She has given her all to follow her dream of becoming a rock star, and recorded one album early in her career called Silk Nights. But chasing that dream had a high cost. She basically abandoned her husband Pete (Kevin Kline), as well as her daughter Julie (Mamie Gummer) and two sons, Adam and Josh. Her family is back in Indianapolis living their lives, and Pete long ago got remarried to Maureen (Audra McDonald), and Ricki is grubbing out a life working by day as a grocery clerk, and at night rocking with her band and her boyfriend, bandmate Greg (Rick Springfield) at the Salt Well bar.
Ricki’s routine gets interrupted one day by an urgent phone call from the ex-hubby. It seems daughter Julie’s world has come crashing down when her d-bag husband decided to dump her for a newer model. So Ricki heeds the call for help, and trucks back to Indianapolis to save the day. But life isn’t usually easy, or forgiving. The only one that really seems happy to see Ricki is the family dog. But for better or worse, Ricki is there to do her best for her family.
This is a tough sell for a film in the summer season. It is a relationship movie, with a storyline dealing with a failed marriage, adult children full of resentment, and a middle aged woman dealing with a fading dream of becoming a rock star. There are a few light moments that will let you laugh, and many more poignant scenes that are true to life where we look back and remember our failures and regrets in life. And there are some uplifting moments where characters discover family ties can be surprisingly strong, no matter how long they have been dormant. There is certainly chemistry between Meryl Streep and real life daughter Mamie Gummer. Rick Springfield does a credible acting job as Meryl’s love interest, as well as bringing some street cred to the band. Pretty decent sound track to boot.
Dialogue Nuggets: Julie to Ricki – “Couldn’t make it for the wedding, but you’re right on time for the divorce.”
Ricki – “It’s hard to find a good cruller in California.”
Pete to Ricki – “Historically, you don’t give a damn.”
Julie to parents – “Hey, you guys are fighting like the 80s all over again.”
Adam – “Oh my God, she’s parenting! Someone get a camera.”
Ricki to son – “I thought you were bi-sexual.” Adam – “That was my cover story in college ten years ago.”
Bar Guy – “Even I need my Mommy sometimes, and she’s literally Satan!”
Sound Track: Definitely some rocking songs in this movie. But seriously, Paint It Black being performed by The Feelies? The producers couldn’t spring for a few more bucks to get the Rolling Stones version?