“Ricki and the Flash” tells the story of the title character, also known as Linda, played by Meryl Streep. Ricki is an aging musician who had dreams of hitting it big as a rock star but as the movie begins she is only able to get work doing covers of songs at a local bar in California. To help make ends meet, she also works at a local grocery store.
The story picks up when Ricki gets a call from her ex-husband Pete (Kline), who informs her that their daughter Julie, (Gummer) recently had a bad break-up with her husband and has fallen into depression. Ricki then flies out to Indianapolis to try and help her daughter, even though she has become distant with her family.
With Academy Award winning Director Jonathan Demme and Oscar winner Diablo Cody handling the script, one would expect a film of a higher caliber than what “Ricki and the Flash” turned out to be. While the film does have some strengths in certain areas, mainly the acting, it gets dragged down by a formulaic story that carries very little flash.
The story of a dysfunctional family can be an interesting topic to delve into yet the film doesn’t do anything knew with the genre. That’s not to say it is heavy with clichés, however, it just doesn’t throw anything that shocks or surprises and also lacks a full look into the problems that this family has.
For example, the film makes mention that Ricki left her family to pursue her dream of being a rock star, but there was very little depth as to why she needed to runaway to do so. The movie also seems to gloss over the healing process that Ricki’s relationship with her children goes through which ultimately leads to an ending that was a bit too cheesy and forced.
Despite the complaints, “Ricki and the Flash” did have some good moments, mainly thanks to its cast of solid veteran actors. Streep is, as always, convincing as a rocker unhappy with her current situation and Kline had some good moments playing the father who is forced to bring in his ex for the sake of their daughter.
Another good performance came from Rick Springfield, Ricki’s band member and love interest, who delivered some of the better emotional lines in the film. Also strong in “Flash” was Gummer, Streep’s actual daughter. Both Streep and Gummer worked well together on screen and their mother-daughter relationship was convincing as it should be.
There are some nice musical performances featured in the film, but that and the good acting can’t do enough to overcome the weaker parts of the movie. Overall, “Ricki and the Flash” is rather average. High 2 out of 5.