Ricki and The Flash (TriStar, 8.7) has been pre-screened and junketed and interviewed up the lah-lah, but so far no reviews. Which is a bit unusual for a film opening four days hence. But it’s very pleasing to see, for once, a mother and a daughter played by actresses (Meryl Streep, Mamie Gummer) who actually, for obvious reasons, resemble each other. Unlike 99.5% of the other mother-daughter pairings in Hollywood movies, who don’t even look like they could be cousins. The less-than-totally-cool, non-junketing all-media types (i.e., people like myself) will take a gander at Jonathan Demme and Diablo Cody’s latest tomorrow night. Fingers crossed.
Deadline‘s Michael Fleming: “After all the summer frivolity for young audiences, is it time for adults to step back into the pool? Tom Rothman is betting big with the upcoming Ricki and the Flash. The film opens Friday, in the slot that brought success for the Helen Mirren-starrer The Hundred Foot Journey and other adult films.” Is that a “money” analogy? Who saw or paid the slightest attention to The Hundred Foot Journey apart from journos and industry bluehairs? If you ask me Fleming has just stabbed Ricki and the Flash in the chest with a sharp pencil.
Fleming again: “This one has the Oscar pedigree: Meryl Streep, reteaming with Sophie’s Choice co-star Kevin Kline, script by Diablo Cody, and Jonathan Demme directing. It has the emotional family-in-crisis gravitas Demme brought to Rachel Getting Married. But the big bet here is that Streep, who has been one of the most reliable actresses who draw audiences.
“Here, she sings up a storm, songs like Tom Petty’s American Girl that resonate with a crowd including myself, the one that still bristles when my kids regard my fixation with Springsteen and U2 as ‘dad rock.’ Demme gets the joke: Streep heads a bar band (yes, her decision to leave behind her family to become a rock singer results in the futility of fronting a bar band) and when they sing current pop tunes I regard as instantly forgettable, the kids perk up and flock to the dance floor. Streep’s singing is outstanding and she keeps coming up with ways to keep it fresh and the return of General Hospital heartthrob-turned-rock star Rick Springfield as her bandmate/lover is a nice surprise.
“Much has been written about Sony’s thin year, and this won’t right the ship by itself. They’ve spent on advertising, but at heart this is an $18 million budget character piece with Meryl singing like an angel, that starts on 1800 screens. But the film should play through August and should be a step in the right direction for Rothman, who is now putting together bigger movies like Stephen King’s The Dark Tower and the Jennifer Lawrence-Chris Pratt sci-fi two hander Passengers, as he tries to reinvigorate the slumping studio.”