Review by Steve Duffy –
Ricki Rendazzo (Meryl Streep), who ditched her family to pursue her dream of being a rock star, is enjoying her life as the struggling guitarist/singer of her band “Ricki and the Flash”. At least until her ex-husband Pete (Kevin Kline) calls her hoping she will return home to help their daughter Julie (Mamie Gummer), who is depressed after her husband leaves her for another woman. Ricki returns home to Pete’s gated community in Indianapolis to try to offer support after being absent for so long. She is met with tension and aggression from her kids who all still harbor ill-feelings towards their mother.
What can’t Streep do? Every role that she portrays, she transforms herself and captivates the audience even if the script is not worthy.
Gummer is impressive and entertaining as Julie. Rick Springfield is the lead guitarist and Ricki’s love interest. Audra McDonald’s talent is underused as Pete’s wife Maureen.
A distracting side subplot are Ricki’s two sons: Adam (Nick Westrate) and Josh (Sebastian Stan). In the beginning of the film, there is a pretty funny scene in a restaurant where the entire family is together for the first time in a long time. The film soon focuses less on the family dynamic and more on Ricki.
The Flash rocks some great cover songs by: Bruce Springsteen, U2, and Tom Petty. Don’t blink because you may miss The Facts of Life’s Charlotte Rae as Pete’s mother.
Ricki and the Flash is not a great movie mostly because the plot suffers and gets lost along the way. However, fans of Meryl Streep will enjoy seeing her take on yet another great performance.
PG-13 for thematic material, brief drug content, sexuality and language
Runtime: 1 hr. 42 min.