Prime

2005, Universal

Uma Thurman, Bryan Greenberg, Meryl Steep

 

††††††††† I got a half hour into Prime before turning it off.It just didnít work... I mean, it never really started for me, and after a while it was just like watching a series of loosely interrelated sketches that didnít have much point.

††††††††† Letís start with basics.Rafi (Uma Thurman) is supposed to be 37 (i.e. the older woman) to Daveís (Bryan Greenbergís) 23.Is Uma Thurman actually 37?Got me.If she is, sheís looking pretty hot--and therefore young looking as well, so when the movie finally gets around to stating Rafiís age, sheíd already been on the screen for a good ten minutes and Iíd--understandably--already formed an impression of her and nothing in that impression had anything to do with her being older than Dave.If fact, I wasnít aware that Rafi was supposed to be significantly older than Dave until she said as much to Dave--outside of a liquor store where he just got carded.From this one is supposed to gather that Dave looks young?Good to know, because until they told me, I didnít know that was an issue either.I guess what I am saying is that movies are a supposed to be a visual medium.I know that sound is an important element, but if the only reason I know that Rafi is older than Dave is because she tells me this in the fourth scene, then something is wrong.

††††††††† But this isnít where the meltdown started.For whatever reason, nothing in the movie worked for me, and this didnít start in the fourth scene, but right at the very beginning.In the opening act, Meryl Streep plays Rafiís shrink, but I just donít buy Meryl Streep as a therapist.The words she says just arenít, you know, therapeutic, and while weíre at it, I didnít buy Meryl Streep later on as Daveís Jewish mother either.Come to think about it, the introduction of Meryl Streep as Daveís Jewish mother sight unseen over the phone is just the type of thing you want to avoid if you are going to be making a second rate film.See, the problem with this, is you are anything like me, you donít pay a lot of attention to the previews or cover art.I figure a movie is supposed to stand by itself and that you donít have to come to the film with specific knowledge, but for this film that would have helped.Anyhow, Dave calls his mom on the phone and you donít see her.Sheís Jewish, overbearing, and she wants her son to marry in the faith.Fine, no big deal, but guess what, sheís also Meryl Streep, Rafiís therapist... and the laughs ensue, or not as the case may be.

††††††††† See, the problem is, Iíve already seen Meryl in the movie, and I didnít associate her with being Jewish, and when Dave was talking on the phone to his mom, Meryl Streep wasnít in the forefront of my mind.I was expected a new actress to be introduced for the role of his mom.Being keen on fixing movies after the fact, I will point out that this could have been solved by ditching the phone call and having them meet in person, or doing it split screen so we see who is on the other end of the phone, but plain and simple, introducing Meryl as Daveís mom via a phone creates ambiguity.And a movie that doesnít flow--like this one--doesnít need more ambiguity.

††††††††† Hereís another example of how things donít flow.Dave is supposed to be funny.Heís cute sure, but funny?No.Not really.Anyhow, heís doing this comedy routine of sorts in a restaurant.†† Low key stuff, heís just doing jokes that arenít really jokes, more like witty conversation that is flowing over Rafiís head.Anyhow, he explains that heís doing a routine (because neither Rafi or us knew this before he tells us), and then the filmmakers fade away, cut the sound, and que in music, and what do you know, but right then we start to see Rafi laughing at these unheard jokes, as the night drifts on.See thatís how you do comedy, when you arenít a comic.You imply it.Dave is presumably making jokes, but they arenít ever said, so no one ever has to come up with them in the first place.This is the type of trick a writer might use if he wasnít in a funny mood, or just couldnít come up with anything good.<Insert funny joke here>Does it work for you?I mean, as a writer, I can appreciate the technique, but itís not something to be used when a movie is falling apart or if you want the thing to be labeled as funny.<Insert another funny joke here>Tell me, is this a humorous review?No.Itís not, and establishing that a character is funny by implying the fact, doesnít work.Sure, do that montage thing, show a bunch of bits that donít really work, but after youíve proven to me the guy is funny.Having other characters say that, ďHeís funny,Ē is no way to introduce a character as funny.It would be like saying I write comedy.Um.OK.How about a joke or two then.Bottom line, Dave might be funny, but in this movie, heís not.

††††††††† Overall the rest of the movie isnít very funny either.I didnít laugh once, but this really isnít the kiss of death.Not every movie is a comedy.However, in a bid for comedy (or just through stupidity), there is one more bit of idiocy about Prime that I wish to go into.Dave has a friend (who also happens to be the only Jewish looking person in the film), and this friend commemorates not getting laid by his previous nightís date by throwing a cream pie into said dateís face--as in a thanks for nothing.We wonít go into how this isnít funny, just sort of sad, immature and stupid, but what we will go into is that Dave is this guyís designated getaway driver while he performs this asinine ritual.If this was a college movie, it might make some sense, but Dave is supposed to be the romantic lead.What sort of romantic lead is an enabler for an abusive misogynist?Well, apparently the type of lead they put in Prime.And no doubt Dave changes his ways later, as he goes through some crisis, matures a little, and tries to win Rafiís heart over after she realizes how unfunny, and immature he is--not to mention his bad taste in friends.

††††††††† But I didnít get that far.I only got to the 30 minute mark, and not only do I think that I can guess most of the plot lines, I donít think any of them were very inspired.Hereís my guess.Let me know if Iím wrong {or donít, I really could care less}.Rafi breaks up with Dave because heís immature, but Dave wins her back by proving heís more mature then most men her age.Thereís also this running gag between Dave and the doorman, and by the end of the movie the doorman is on Daveís side.And the stupid movie ends with Rafi eating a dinner at home with Dave and his mother in the finest of Jewish traditions. Iím probably way off, but then, who cares?The movie sucked.It was perhaps the worst constructed film (editing, directing, script, etc.) that Iíve seen in a long time.And please, just because I didnít put acting in that list, donít be thinking that through all of this Meryl Streep found a way to shine.She didnít.

 

††††††††† {Itís odd how negative reactions and emotions inspire me to put fingers to keyboard and pound out a scathing review.I adore Pride & Prejudice -- the Colin Firth version if you please -- but Iíve never bothered to write a review of that.I guess I donít have the need to purge myself of that, so I donít.Just noting the fact, quiet appreciation so seldom inspires one to write... this one, anyway.}

 

 

 

 

 

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