Can the chameleonic and talented actress Meryl Streep turn any film she stars in into a good film? Ricki and the flash, the new film of director Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs, The Manchurian Candidate,…) gives a clear answer: definitely not.
Linda Brummel, a flamboyant and egocentric republican who goes by the stage name of Ricki Rendazzo, left her husband and three small children in order to pursue her dream and become a rock star in Los Angeles. Not having reached her aims, she has been living for years in the San Fernando Valley, working at the cash register in a mall during the day and playing gigs at a small local pub at night together with her band “the flash”.
When her ex husband informs her that their now grown up daughter (played by Streep’s daughter Mamie Gummer) is going through a very hard time and might need her help, she reluctantly flies back to Indianapolis, where her long forgotten family lives. If at first Linda is rejected by the children she abandoned and never took care of, throughout the movie she will manage to make her way back to the hearts of at least her daughter and husband, by engaging in such bonding activities as doughnut eating, family pot smoking and spending time together at the beauty salon, in order to make up for the lost time.
It will take Linda a little bit longer to win back her two older sons, but in the end, under the magic spell of music, the whole family will joyfully sing and dance together in an explosive and cheesy finale, all the past discords seemingly forgotten.
Diablo Cody’s screenplay makes it for a minimally exciting plot, spiced up with some platitudes here and there, resulting in a hardly recommendable movie. Unless of course either you are a fan of improbable, sentimental happy endings or would watch anything for the sake of Meryl Streep.