Kinda lightweight family-crisis drama, but that’s welcome after the too-heavy Rachel Getting Married. This one also tweaks the formula in important ways, using music scenes (Meryl Streep’s Ricki fronts a pub-rock band) for emotional impact, letting the entire songs play out. Streep is great, but she’s out-acted (if not upstaged) by daughter Mamie Gummer, who plays both touchingly depressed and comic-caricature-depressed, depending on the scene.
Streep has abandoned her own family, now tries to return and fix things when her daughter is abandoned by her husband. The two sons are having none of this, and Streep loses a power struggle with ex-husband Kevin Kline’s wife Audra McDonald, and refuses to commit to boyfriend/bandmate Rick Springfield, then between the visit home for Mamie’s divorce drama and Streep’s belated invitation to her son’s wedding a few months later, she manages to change just enough for a happy, all-dancing ending.
Written by Diablo Cody, with Kevin Kline as husband/father. Pretty much none of the critics liked it except Scott Tobias: “Against the machine-tooled blockbusters of summer, Demme’s film stands out for its modesty of scale and its abiding interest in the untidy business of being human … Typical of many Demme films, there are no villains here, just the natural conflict between fundamentally decent people whose choices have put them at odds with one another.”