Home Reviews Review: Ricki and the Flash

Review: Ricki and the Flash

Meryl Streep stars in "Ricki and The Flash"

When you look at the plot in Ricki and the Flash, it’s clear to see that it has some potential to present an intriguing film. With an absentee mother who essentially chose to chase after her nonexistent music career over staying with her young family years earlier at the center of it, it would be hard not to find something in it that would catch your attention. It also stars Meryl Streep. That’s something that can be seen as an event itself to some people.

Streep stars as Ricki, a singer/guitarist who left her former life behind to fulfill her dream of being a rock star. While that didn’t go as planned, she’s continued to play even if the only gigs she can get are in front of half empty bars. This has been her only existence for a while now, but all that changes when she returns home and has a chance to make things right with the family she grew apart from long ago.

In the beginning, things are set up things nicely, but it doesn’t come close to staying at this solid level for very long. Once they establish who Ricki is and what her life is like, we are never allowed to go any deeper. We’re soon whisked into the lives of her ex-husband and her kids as we’re introduced to what appears to be a family in a terrible situation.

What comes after this is supposed to be the parts where we witness the family troubles come pouring out from all directions as they attempt to deal with the extreme emotional scars that they were left to deal with when Ricki figured it was more important to lead a band rather than be their for her kids. On multiple occasions, we’re told that her kids hate her for that, but that doesn’t really show up after a couple of early scenes.

Once she pops back up out of nowhere, there’s almost no conflict or form of legitimate tension in sight. If you were to build a movie around anything like this, I’d find it hard to believe that anyone in the history of the universe would see this as being believable. There’s going to be anger, grief or some other kind of negative emotion coming from someone that she left behind years ago. Instead, these guys act as if they simply spilled a carton of milk, wiped it up and went to the store to buy another carton.

It’s bad enough that she left you, but to see that she failed miserably at building any sort of music career would probably make you even angrier once she decided to show her face again. That’s what anyone would see as a reasonable reaction in a case like this, and it sounded like that would be the case when we learn that one of her kids doesn’t even invite her to his upcoming wedding, but even that is solved fairly quickly and without even a hint of reluctance.

If you choose to see Ricki and the Flash, you’ll notice that they tiptoe around everything that may be controversial or provide an emotional jolt through the family because they clearly never really try to engage in any of the heavy stuff that they lay out in the initial segments of the film. Maybe this was done to make sure it earned a PG-13 rating or maybe it was something else.

While I can’t say this is true, I’m thinking there’s a possibility that Ricki and the Flash may have been played extremely safe do to the central character is a flawed woman. When you honestly think about it, it’s rare to see women being legitimately vilified in American film. With that being the case, there’s at least a slight chance that the people behind the scenes didn’t want to go in that direction. Obviously, I’m not saying this is true since I wasn’t there when it was being developed, but it’s something that popped in my mind while thinking about it afterward.

The only movie that I can really think of that came out over the last few years where the woman was actually a certifiably villainous character was Gone Girl. Even then, just about all of the other characters in that film refused to see her as anything other than a victim. Maybe that’s why they wouldn’t make Ricki a source of true frustration for her ex-husband and her kids? Maybe the people behind this felt like those people in Gone Girl? Or maybe they felt like the general public were like the people in Gone Girl?

Anyway, this is just a theory of mine that just popped into my head, but it’s something to think about when trying to figure out why these guys decided to be so timid in handling what’s being shown in here. This is supposed to be about a woman who left her family behind and won’t even answer the phone when her ex calls her, but somehow turns into this highly active mother with heroic tendencies once she’s back home. How does that shift in attitude happen so fast?

I would give them credit for making a movie with a female lead playing a character that’s not handled in the usual way, but it kind of sucks that they are so hesitant to go to a place where she can’t be a hero of sorts since she doesn’t truly deserve that and wouldn’t get that distinction in real life. Due to its unwillingness to engage in anything hardcore, Ricki and the Flash fails even though it had all of the elements to find success. If only they would have taken some risks.

Rating: PG-13

Director: Jonathan Demme

Cast:
Meryl Streep
Mamie Gummer
Rick Springfield
Kevin Kline
Audra McDonald

Film Length: 100 minutes

Release Date: August 7, 2015

Distributor: Tristar Pictures

  • Universal Pictures' THE FIRST PURGE

    Review: The First Purge

    When we last left The Purge series, we were in a tricky position in terms of its future. I…
  • (L to R) Chris Webber, Nate Robinson, Lisa Leslie, Shaquille O’Neal as, Lil Rel Howery, Kyrie Irving, Reggie Miller, and Erica Ash star in Lionsgate Films' UNCLE DREW

    Review: Uncle Drew

    I don’t believe that people are going into Uncle Drew hoping for a great cinematic e…
  • Jeremy Renner and Jon Hamm star in New Line Cinema's TAG

    Review: Tag

    In watching so many movies over the course of my life, I’ve learned that most movies…
  • Toni Collette stars in A24 Films' HEREDITARY

    Review: Hereditary

    I can’t say that I had high expectations for A24’s Hereditary. That feeling wa…
  • Sterling K. Brown and Jodie Foster in Global Road Entertainment's HOTEL ARTEMIS

    Review: Hotel Artemis

    Hotel Artemis seemed to have the potential to be a good little movie that plenty of people…
  • Elle Fanning and Alex Sharp star in A24 Films' HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES

    Review: How to Talk to Girls at Parties

    The good thing about small budget films is that filmmakers get to create pieces of art tha…
Load More Related Articles
Load More By Jaskee Hickman
  • Dwayne Johnson stars in Universal Pictures' SKYSCRAPER

    Review: Skyscraper

    In an age where even the biggest of blockbusters aspire to be important, some movies are o…
  • Evangeline Lilly and Paul Rudd star in Marvel Studios' ANT-MAN AND THE WASP

    Review: Ant-Man and The Wasp

    After Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) got to stand on is own in his first film, he’s now sharing…
  • Universal Pictures' THE FIRST PURGE

    Review: The First Purge

    When we last left The Purge series, we were in a tricky position in terms of its future. I…
  • (L to R) Chris Webber, Nate Robinson, Lisa Leslie, Shaquille O’Neal as, Lil Rel Howery, Kyrie Irving, Reggie Miller, and Erica Ash star in Lionsgate Films' UNCLE DREW

    Review: Uncle Drew

    I don’t believe that people are going into Uncle Drew hoping for a great cinematic e…
  • (L-R) Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Isabella Sermon star in Universal Pictures' JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM

    Review: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

    You don’t really go into a movie like Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom with the hopes …
  • Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Huck Milner, Sarah Vowell star in Disney*Pixar's INCREDIBLES 2

    Review: Incredibles 2

    On paper, Incredibles 2 has a lot going for it in terms of having the ability to satisfy a…
Load More In Reviews

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also

Review: Skyscraper

In an age where even the biggest of blockbusters aspire to be important, some movies are o…