Ricki and the Flash – Rock ‘n roll flop — Watch Streep’s award winners instead

ST. LOUIS — “Ricki and the Flash” can’t make up its mind whether it is a rock concert or a movie. Is it a comedy or a drama? Whatever it is — it is boring.

Three-time Academy Award-winner Meryl Streep, (“Kramer vs. Kramer,” “Sophie’s Choice” and “Iron Lady”) stars as a hard-rocking singer/guitarist Ricki in “Ricki and the Flash.” Ricki, a mother and wife who abandoned her family for her rock-and-roll dream of stardom, returns home to try to make things right with her dysfunctional family.

Streep’s real-life daughter Mamie Gummer plays her fictional daughter, Julie. Rick Springfield takes on the role of a “Flash” member, Greg, who’s in love with Ricki; and Academy Award-winner Kevin Kline (“A Fish Called Wanda”) portrays Ricki’s ex-husband, Pete.

The problem with “Ricki and the Flash” is the storyline. It is just too unrealistic. It just doesn’t feel right. Ricki comes home after abandoning her three children when they are small and just because she turns up, all is eventually forgiven by her three adult children. I don’t think so. That just doesn’t happen in real life.

The screenplay by Academy Award-winner Diablo Cody, (“Juno”), is so thin they had to fill it in with a gazillion songs. Not just snippets of songs, but the whole bloody thing. After the fourth or fifth song I got impatient and wanted them to get on with the story. Although Ms. Streep is a talented singer, I would rather see her act.

“Ricki and the Flash” was directed by Academy Award-winner Jonathan Demme, who also directed “Philadelphia” and “Silence of the Lambs.”

I screened this at Wehrenberg Ronnie’s 20 Cine in south St. Louis County Monday night. When I asked the audience their thoughts about the movie, the reactions were lukewarm at best. One woman said that she thought it was going to be a comedy. Several liked the music, but weren’t crazy about the movie. One couple said they liked it, but thought it would be funnier. Two women said they really liked it, but were glad they didn’t spend $11 to see it. Only one woman said she loved it, but several said they thought it was boring.

I thought this movie was a waste of fabulous talent. You have great actors, a great director, a good supporting cast and a good screenwriter — by all accounts this should be the “must see” movie of the summer, but it isn’t. If you want a good movie, go see something else!

“Ricki and the Flash” opens Friday at AMC Showplace Edwardsville 12.

The Telegraph’s contributing movie critic Mary Cox lives in Wood River and is a member of the St. Louis Film Critics Association, who also occasionally writes about film-related topics, studied film at the University of California, Los Angeles, and worked in L.A. with various directors and industry professionals. She can be reached at mlcwriter@charter.net.