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Ricki and the Flash


Stars: Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Rick Springfield, Mamie Gummer, Sebastian Stan, Nick Westrate, Audra McDonald, Hailey Gates, Bill Irwin

Director: Jonathan Demme

Entertaining LA bar customers for more years than she cares to remember, Ricki Rendazzo (Streep, with flowing hair one side and plaited dreadlocks the other) and her ageing group of rockers, apart from lead guitarist Greg (Springfield), a mere stripling of fifty-odd, storm through their latest act.

Drawn back to her former Indianapolis family by a call from her ex, Pete (Kline), Ricki, who works as a checkout lady and can barely raise the airfare, finds that her daughter Julie (Gummer, Streep's real-life daughter) has tried to kill herself after her new husband left her.

Ricki (or Linda to her family) endures a predictably prickly relationship with Pete, whose current wife Maureen (McDonald) is away with her dying father, but she does go some way to sorting her daughter out. After some flirtation with Pete, whose cannabis Ricki shares, Maureen returns unexpectedly and makes it clear that Ricki is wanted neither at the house nor at her younger son's forthcoming wedding.

Although this is more or less a vanity project for Streep, and is uncertainly directed by the veteran Demme, the film has some nice scenes (Diablo Cody's script certainly has its highs and lows), and just about keeps you on its side.

We all know Streep can sing, though I'm not sure she's attempted rock music before, But, of course, being Meryl, she's good at it, and even her guitar work looks authentic. All in all, this might not be a particularly good film - and, okay, the ending is a bit cheesy - but it (and Streep) will give you a pretty good time if you let it. Definitely in the 'guilty pleasure' class.

David Quinlan

USA 2015. UK Distributor: Sony (Tri-Star). Colour (unspecified).
102 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 0.

Review date: 01 Sep 2015