Streep has yet to pull off a satisfying movie focused on music or a musician. Mama Mia and Postcards from the Edge come to mind as two of her few failed movies (even though I loved the original material).
Add one more; Ricki and the Flash is as average as the title, poster and trailer suggest.
I know you're wondering about her singing chops. No surprise, Streep pulls off the musical numbers convincingly. Yet it was a stretch to see the tight, controlled actress play someone so unhinged. It may be the only time I've seen her trying to act. Perhaps she had to lower the bar a bit since Rick Springfield brings his General Hospital drama to her better half. I was uncomfortably nervous whenever the two were onscreen without guitars.
The story is tired and trite. Ricki is the type of movie where everyone in the bar is staring at the musician all night, hanging on to every word and going wild in unison whenever they play. I think this lighthearted film will play well in middle-aged middle America. It's a familiar crowd pleaser with a happy ending and there's nothing else in theaters like it to fit that bill right now. However, the Oscar trifecta of director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs), screenwriter Diablo Cody (Juno) and Streep (everything else) should have spent their time on something better.
Simply put: With any luck, you'll forget this in a flash.
Award potential: It has music. It has comedy. It has Streep. Expect undeserving nominations for Golden Globe's best picture, comedy or musical and lead actress, comedy or musical.
The ten buck review: Not worth ten bucks.