*NEW* RICKI AND THE FLASH REVIEW *NEW*

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Meryl Streep sings and struts her way through this easygoing BUT tragically mediocre melodrama.

A musician (Streep) who gave up everything for her dream of rock-and-roll stardom returns home, looking to make things right with her family.

Penned by Diablo Cody. A somewhat mixed reaction for me. At her best, Juno. Her worst? Jennifer’s Body. This effort luckily fares somewhere in between.

We join Ricki as she performs at her local venue. A battered up pub with her regulars; half a dozen bar flies. I am a huge fan of the Streep. You know that with any film she will give 100%. It was a perfect showcase to see Streep do her best Stevie Nix impression. Anyone who has seen Mamma Mia and Into The Woods will know that she has a cracking voice.

The songs that were written for the film weren’t that bad. It was easygoing and chugged along. BUT things took a more interesting turn as Ricki has to return home to tend to her daughter (real life daughter Mamie Gummer) who is reeling from a bad divorce.

It was great seeing Streep act with her own daughter. Gummer gave as good as she got. As soon as she made her introduction and stormed into the room with her messy hair and dressing gown, I knew Streep had met her match. The fractious relationship between Ricki and Julie made for good viewing as the pair tried to reconcile their differences.

It may have been 33 years since Sophie’s Choice but Kevin Kline and Streep finally reunite once again. They worked well together and Kline played the role of the ex-husband Pete brilliantly. Desperate for the family to be together again. If anything, I was a little disappointed that he wasn’t in it enough.

And that was the main problem for me. There wasn’t enough drama. It didn’t kick off as much as I had hoped and was resolved far too quickly. A heated reunion at a restaurant was a perfect boiling point for Ricki’s sons to vent their anger at their mother who chose fame over family.

Audra McDonald’s Maureen and Streep’s Ricki sparred brilliantly together. It made for a compelling scene as we finally delve a little more into Ricki’s past. I just wish more was made of it. A few passing comments and snipey remarks wasn’t enough. You certainly felt for Ricki but you could also understand Maureen’s frustration after taking over as mum for all those years.

The problem was that after the hour marker, the film fizzed out. All the interesting family drama was put on the back burner and we were left moping over a silly little love subplot with Rick Springfield’s Greg.

Springfield played the love interest well enough. He was a likeable character BUT it was obvious that the pair would get together. To be honest from their on-stage banter and flirty exchanges, I thought they already were.

There were still some good scenes as Ricki desperately tries to hide her feelings and question why Greg would love someone like her. Awww. BUT it shied away from the real story for me.

And yes, I did clock Diablo Cody as one of the bar regulars. Ben Platt (Ol’ Benji from Pitch Perfect) still managed to annoy the hell out of me. Even in a small bartender role.

The closing quarter was far too schmaltzy for my liking. Don’t get me wrong, there were some nice moments as the family seem to accept her and she suddenly receives a wedding invitation. BUT there was a suggestion that Pete still had feelings for Ricki which was never really explored or bothered with.

It ended far too quickly and was dreadfully corny and OTT. A good old song and dance to make up for 35 years of neglect and anger? Okay. Obviously, Ricki is a singer and that was all she could offer. BUT come on! Streep may have nailed Bruce Springsteen’s ‘My Love Will Not Let You Down’ BUT, no disrespect to The Boss, I don’t think everyone would be raving to it at a wedding.

Predictable and a little too hammy for me. Streep was superb and the cast did their best. If it wasn’t for them, this could have been a very dull affair.

2.5/5

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A Day in the Life of a ‘Dog’s Body’ – The Holiday Edition

Chapter One – I’m off on an Adventure!

And so it begins, the frantic packing, the constant worrying and double checking, “have I packed my dwarf costume?” and the more important stuff I suppose; condoms, gadgets, no, of course not, passports, money, etc. Mum running around like a headless chicken, Dad trying to organize everything with military precision. He was never in the military, just very efficient. Squinting over his glasses, like a school head teacher, trying to work out the scales to weigh the cases. My brother, the “helpful” son, in full fly catcher mode, mouth gaping open, dead to the world, but not the flies.

Honestly, Mum is never organized, if she packed her case as quickly as she did mine, we’d be well away. I kid. I do try to pack my own case (I do honest) but all I get is Mum monitoring every object in the case like I’m already passing through customs. “Why do you need that?”, “Going somewhere nice, sir” and “You’re only going for a week!” Et cetera et cetera in Yul Bryner voice. Oscar and Hammerstein? The King and I? No? Really? Ironic that Mum moans about me taking two pairs of shoes when she will have three different outfits for every flipping hour of the holiday, with her many bags and the shoes. Lord, the shoes. Hate to be a chauvinist but ladies, you love your bloody shoes.

I digress. I just help avoid the inevitable arguments and confrontations by allowing my mum to pack my case. Sounds bad but it’s all for the greater good. Then Mum looks at me, distressed. She’s forgotten something! She needs to clean the house. What? At two in the morning? Why this sudden urge to clean? No one is checking on the house. And there’s a very good reason for that because Dad is staying. Didn’t fancy a week in the sun. I know, right?

My Dad is a fidget. He can’t stand still. Programmed like a robot. Up at the crack of dawn. Don’t be rude. I was thinking it while typing. Has to be doing something. I woke up to him stomping outside my room to check the floorboards weren’t raised. I had to help change the clocks on every appliance. It’s funny watching the Formula One racing. Sebastian Vettel is on the verge of winning his fourth title at the age of 26 and I can’t work out the clock on the blasted oven.

Anyway, my father would wake my brother and me (or is it and I? Screw it) at 7am on our holidays to reserve towels by the pool. You can sleep by the pool. I can sleep now if you let me. But if he did, we’d sleep most of the day and not get up until the evening. In a way, what would be the point? Might as well take the week off and stay in bed, save a shed load of money.

Back to the cleaning. Mum smiles and thanks me for my help. I passed some items. She gives me permission to go to bed. Yep, need permission. Could tell her to get out of my room. But she always replies, you could get out of my house. Touché ma mere. Touché. I finally drop off, only for loud stomping and the hoover blaring away like an agitated elephant. Just when I think the noise has stopped, the sleep fairy spreading that glittery mucus to seal my slumbering eyes, Mum decides to have a shower. The sound of a blistering storm above my ceiling.

Another moment of silence. Finally. Nope, the bloody hair dryer! For what seems like an eternity. The silence transcends. That beautiful silence. Peace. Knock, knock. My mum turns the light on and stomps into my room. “You asleep?” God damn it, woman! Well, your brother’s asleep. Don’t seem fair to wake both of you. You’ll have to sleep in the car. Whaaaaatttt?

Mum moans at me and my brother for being unorganized and not ready. My zombie brother hobbles into the car. Yeah, I don’t why he was hobbling. I don’t want to know either. I follow in suit. We looked like prisoners being escorted into a police van, not two lucky buggers going on a sunny holiday. Every time Mum goes to leave the house, what do you know she’s forgotten something!

Where’s my glasses? On your head, Mum. Where’s my glasses case? In your hand, Mum. Where’s my bag? On your arm. Do you want me to tell you who has your nose? SLAP. Worth it. Actually, that stung. Ow. Your TV needs polishing (No! That is not a euphemism. Stop it!) Dad is not going to be in my room. Nobody else is going into the house. Agnes and Kim will not be doing a surprise visit. If for some strange reason, they do then . . . shit. Not actually, shit. I mean, um, next paragraph.

Finally, in the car. Forever the social pariahs, my brother and I put on our iPods and went to sleep. Well my brother got to. I tried but got Mum’s bottomless bag (Stop it!) thrown at my face to make sure we had the tickets and passports. I don’t why she couldn’t – SLAP! Too busy worrying about my Dad’s driving. Remember Keeping up Appearances? Oh that you remember!

My Mum is Hyacinth Bucket. (It’s pronounced Bouquet). Tells my Dad to watch out for the people on the pavement. As if they are all suicidal morons who will play chicken in the road. Well wouldn’t put it past the school kids in the afternoon. Little shits. My Dad’s driving is okay. Okay in the sense that one journey, he may have slightly nodded off at the wheel and went slightly, kinda, over the other side of the road. My bro and I soon woke up then, I tell you. Shiiiiittt!

My Mum can’t watch my Dad driving. She has to look down, especially on motorways. Freaks out at the giant wheels of the lorries. She says, “I need knocking out to get in the car with you”. Silence confirms her statement. My Dad with that face. That face that says, “Too fucking right love”. SLAP!

Approaching the threshold of Northampton, or whatever village we’re passing through. Threshold is a quality word. Bon voyage, Northampton. Nothing says farewell better than a pissed up middle aged man crawling on all fours and vomiting into a bush from the local pub. Wait a minute . . . Uncle?

Dad, the gentleman, insisted he would drive back and check on him. Mum and Ross (yes, my brother does have a name) told my dad to drive on. Don’t need to worry that Dad is getting into trouble. Knowing Dad, he would have bought him a pint and get drunk with him. Mum was babbling on about woods, Deliverance and rape. Yeah, I know. Rape seed’s gone now. It’s winter.

Goodbye, Northampton. You stay . . . classy. Couldn’t even type that with a straight face, let alone read it. Nah, it’s alright. I’m (well we’re) off on an adventure!

PLEASE NOTE: Dad did drive back that route to say if the man was okay. I wonder where Dad is. Been a while. I joke! The man was gone. So, he got home safe or he passed out in a ditch. Nothing in the papers so it’s all good. At the moment.