Ricki and The Flash DVD Review

DVD Review by Jon E Clist

The Premise
Three-time Academy Award® winner Meryl Streep goes electric and takes on a whole new gig - a hard-rocking singer/guitarist - for Oscar®-winning director Jonathan Demme and Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody in the uplifting comedy Ricki and the Flash. In a film loaded with music and live performance, Streep stars as Ricki, a guitar heroine who gave up everything for her dream of rock-and-roll stardom, but is now returning home to make things right with her family. Streep stars opposite her real-life daughter Mamie Gummer, who plays her fictional daughter; Rick Springfield, who takes on the role of a Flash member in love with Ricki; and Kevin Kline, who portrays Ricki's long-suffering ex-husband.
The Review
Okay so from watching the trailer this is one of those films that you don’t generally have high hopes for. I mean you expect a nice film with some endearing and funny moments as the characters come to grips with growing older, growing up and in some cases growing closer. That is pretty much what you get here with the only exception being that Meryl Streep as an aging rock chick is a bit of a push. In regards to the woman who never truly grew up or took responsibility for her life and family, well Streep does a good job of that element, however as the front woman of a rock band, sorry but I didn’t buy it. The story line and the other characters are what makes the film believable and reasonably enjoyable.

Rick Springfield is one element that made it for me. You can certainly believe he is an aging rocker… because that is exactly what he is and after he played an over the top version of himself on the TV show Californication, we have already had a feel for what he might be like. A couple of things of note with him is that he, has had a long career as both a rock performer (including the perennial radio hit "Jessie's Girl," which reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in 1981) and as an actor (he has had regular roles on such TV shows as "General Hospital" and "True Detective"). Plus later on in the film the guitar that Greg (Springfield) pawns is really his own guitar and it is the same guitar he wrote Jessie's Girl on.

Then there is the daughter in this film as played by Streep’s real daughter Mamie Gummer. She does an outstanding job playing a woman who after her husband leaves her for another woman, completely loses the plot and suffers an extreme breakdown. Cue living in Pyjamas and bad hair. While over the top at times it actually fits the role and gives you the understanding that here is a woman at her lowest point in life, unhinged and in need of help. This marks the third time Mamie Gummer and real life mother Meryl Streep have worked together on film. First in the movie Heartburn (1986) then in Evening (2007).
The Verdict
A good old yarn with a great cast or mis-mashed actors giving you a few good laughs and a pile of old songs you’ll want to sing along with… (Sounds like mamma Mia but not being an actual musical…)
The Trailer
The Info
DVD Releases: 2nd December 2015
Rating: PG – Contains coarse language, drug use and sexual references
Duration: 101 minutes
Genre:  Comedy
Starring: Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Mamie Gummer and Rick Springfield
Director: Jonathan Demme (Neil Young Journeys, Rachel Getting Married)
The Extras
Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline previously starred in Sophie's Choice (1982) in which Streep won her second Oscar while pregnant with daughter Mamie Gummer who plays Streep and Kline's daughter in this film.
The story is loosely based on Diablo Cody's real life mother-in-law who has been singing rock and roll for many years.
Meryl Streep plays a professional singer here. Although Streep is a trained singer, the woman who plays Maureen, Pete's second wife, Audra McDonald, is arguably the most acclaimed Broadway musical performer of her generation. She has won six competitive Tony Awards (more than any other performer), the first four before she was 35. McDonald has a non-singing role in Ricki and the Flash.
Cameo (Diablo Cody): Appears as a patron dancing on the floor when Ricki and the Flash are playing "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For."