Ricki and the Flash

Directed By: Jonathan Demme

Starring: Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Mamie Gummer, Audra McDonald, Sebastian Stan, Rick Springfield, and Ben Platt

There is no one in Hollywood right now who can touch Meryl Streep.  With nineteen Oscar nods and counting, the sky's the limit for the iconic actress.  I'd argue that this late period of her career has been one of her most productive times on the big screen.  The proof is in just how much product she's been putting out in recent years.  That being said, it's safe to say that even the heavyweight thespian has made a few missteps in her career.  On this fateful weekend in 2015, I believe she's just made another in the form of Ricki and the Flash.  She may be rocking out to Lady Gaga, Pink, and Bruce Springsteen throughout the movie, but moviegoers certainly won't be rocking with her.

Ricki Rendazzo (Meryl Streep) has chased her dream of music for decades, and it's cost her the only thing she values in this world other than a melody, her family.  Living in Los Angeles, Ricki performs nightly with her boyfriend Greg (Rick Springfield) and their band The Flash at a dive bar in the city.  Covering the tunes of Pink, Lady Gaga, and Uncle Kracker, they get lost in the music.  During the day, Ricki spends her hours working at a local grocery store as a cashier.  It's difficult for her to maintain the perpetually perky disposition of a customer-facing employee, but she manages to get by.  Everything changes one day when she gets a call from her ex-husband Pete (Kevin Kline) and is asked to help their daughter Julie (Mamie Gummer) through a rough divorce.  She packs up her guitar, and heads straight for the Midwest.

Ricki and the Flash marks the big screen reunion of Meryl Streep and her Sophie's Choice co-star Kevin Kline.  It marks yet another mother-daughter collaboration on the big screen for Streep and one of her daughters.  It even marks Streep's first foray into rock and roll.  All that being said, milestones don't make memories in this rock-themed comedy drama.  Devoid of a worthwhile narrative, multi-dimensional characters, or any other semblance of depth, the film is reliant on Streep and Streep alone.  There's no doubt that she is a supreme performer on screen, but she is not enough.  There's only one way I can articulate my thoughts on Ricki and the Flash, and that's by borrowing from Uncle Kracker.  Free my soul.  I wanna get lost from Ricki's rock and roll.  I just wanna drift away.

Fresh from a year of portraying supporting characters on the big screen, Streep is back in the lead as Ricki "Linda" Rendazzo, and it's abundantly clear throughout the film.  She delivers the charm and musical prowess with which we're all quite familiar.  It's just not enough to carry what would otherwise be a made-for-TV movie.  As her ex-husband, Kevin Kline mails in a decent performance as well.  He's witty and charming as Pete, but there's no depth to his performance.  Similar things can be said about Mamie Gummer in her portrayal of Julie.  She offers a one-note performance full of bitterness as this woman scorned.

Ricki and the Flash is not the low-key delight we expected.  It adds to a full weekend of disappointments and leaves us desiring more.  You'll need some vodka martinis for this one.  Ricki and the Flash gets a 0.09% rating.