Stars: ** 1/2
Rating: PG-13 for language and sexuality
Run Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Meryl Streep knows how to work a movie; every moment of screen time charged with an enigmatic glow. Unfortunately that glow isn’t enough to save a romantic comedy that’s merely half a good movie.
Streep is a Jewish mother of a therapist named Lisa Metzger who is currently dispensing warmth and wisdom to the ethereal Rafi Gardet (Uma Thurman), a 37-year old divorcee with commitment issues. When Rafi meets Dave Bloomberg (Bryan Greenberg) sparks fly and bells ring. The hitch is that Rafi is thirty-seven and Dave’s a twenty-three year old pup.
Naturally Rafi confesses all to her analyst who is supportive in the extreme. “Get messy in life” she tells her, “at least you know you’re living”. Rafi eats up the reinforcement and continues to spill dirty details to Lisa, on whom it finally dawns that the young man in question is her one and only son.
The jig is up; at this point “Prime” takes its biggest hit. The consummate pleasure of new romance, hip dialogue and genuine laughs aimed at mistaken identity get swallowed up by the psychological chaos of a good Jewish boy hooking up with an elderly shiksa and a narrative that can’t dig its way out of standard farcical format.
Writer/director Ben Younger of “Boiler Room” fame strays from his typically edgy oeuvre and doesn’t master the genre the way he should. His characters are eager and well-realized but ultimately their efforts are lost in a meandering search for a meaningful life.