Monday, 7 September 2015

REVIEW - RICKI AND THE FLASH (JONATHAN DEMME)


A loose little comedy that begs for a little more tightening, Jonathan Demme and Diablo Cody's Ricki and the Flash blurs the distinction between understated and underdeveloped. The premise has promise, but the execution is slack - it's wholly in keeping with the nature of Cody's script, but it gives the film very little to latch onto. Meryl Streep supplies a typically vibrant performance at its centre, though refrains from showboating (as one suspects she may have been intended to) - she, too, is in total co-ordination with the tone of the film, indeed is partly responsible for it, so while this isn't a Streep to savour, there's nothing unsavoury about it. In ways, Ricki and the Flash could have benefitted from a shade more unsavouriness - Demme ably depicts Ricki's fecklessness in his characteristically laidback direction, but leaves her fieriness to emerge only in the occasional barbed line of dialogue, and who knows how much pep could have been provided had he adopted a similarly sharp approach. The film is at its strongest when unleashing Cody's unapologetic bile, if only in manageable doses, onto every stereotype going, even if she can't consistently match the depths of her taste level to the heights of her screenwriting technique. What she can be relied upon to contribute, however, is an amiable attitude toward the squares of society, the freaks and the outcasts whose non-conformity isn't just aesthetic, it's essential. Ricki and the Flash is, in a structural sense as well as a tonal one, vaguely non-conformist; more conviction in one direction or another, and we'd have a film worthy of the talents that worked on it.