Feb 5, 2015

Review: Prime (2005)

I wonder what the title Prime is really referring to? Is it the fact that its main characters are 37 and 23, both prime numbers? I'm no a math guy by any means, but at least I know that it means they're only divisible by themselves or by 1. Is the title referring to the fact that the characters are IN their prime? Or is it just 23 year-old Dave who's in his prime? Anyway, it doesn't really matter.

Romantic comedies, often the bane of the male species, can be good from time to time. Especially when they avoid being contrived Hollywood drivel like they are so much of the time. Prime was written and directed by Ben Younger, so that sort of seems like a good sign if you ask me. It's the vision of one person which is usually a good thing. If that person has a good vision anyway and Meryl Streep is a good sign too right?

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Genre: comedy, drama, romance
Directed by: Ben Younger
Produced by: Jennifer Todd, Suzanne Todd, Mark Gordon, etc.
Written by: Ben Younger
Music by: Ryan Shore
Running time: 105 minutes
Production company: Prime Film Productions LLC, Stratus Film Co., Team Todd, etc.
Distributed by: Universal Pictures, Odeon, Momentum Pictures, etc.
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $22,000,000
Box office: $67,937,494 (Worldwide)

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Uma Thurman, Meryl Streep, Bryan Greenberg, Jon Abrahams, Zak Orth, Annie Parisse, Aubrey Dollar, Jerry Adler, Doris Belack, Ato Essandoh, Naomi Aborn, John Rothman

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Synopsis


37 year-old Rafi Gardet (Uma Thurman) is relieved but also saddened by her recent divorce. Rafi's "ticking clock" is one thing that's particularly bothering her though since she really wants to have children one day. She meets David Bloomberg (Bryan Greenberg) randomly one night and it doesn't take long before things get more serious. Shockingly, he's only 23 years-old which is something that could cause some problems down the road.

Review


Prime starts off quite well even if there are some pretty familiar plot elements. Things like the ticking clock and the age difference thing aren't anything all that revolutionary, but Ben Younger seems to work them into the story pretty well and he doesn't just use them as cheap plot devices to be able to makes a joke or two. There's also something genuine about how David and Rafi's relationship develops from the beginning which I really enjoyed.

These scenes are a mixture of awkward, sweet and funny. Uma Thurman and Bryan Greenberg do good work here and their age difference comes off as completely natural. You buy their relationship no problem even if the characters around them don't. The other layer of Prime is of course with Rafi's therapist Lisa Metzger (Meryl Streep) which is integral to the plot.

I consider the way it's important a spoiler, so I'm putting it behind my spoiler parentheses. So be warned! (Spoilers) It turns out that Lisa Metzger, the long-time therapist of Rafi is in fact David's mother. His very religious mother that is, who sees it as very important that David marries within his faith. You can also bet that it's quite awkward for poor Lisa as Rafi tells her intimate details about her relationship with David. (End Spoilers) Again, these aren't things that are revolutionary, but Ben Younger finds a way to make the whole thing believable and entertaining at the same time. It also helps when you have a world class talent like Meryl Streep throwing the punches.

To be honest though, Prime doesn't keep its genuine characteristics all the way through. Once things started getting very serious between Rafi and David, their conflicts seemed petty and their romantic scenes didn't have the same kind of charm as the early ones did. It's not like Prime falls into bad movie territory or anything, but it loses a part of itself along the way. I started losing interest in the characters and I just couldn't sympathize with them as much as I did in the beginning.

The last three quarters of Prime feel particularly run-of-the mill with things like a call or no call montage that's all too common in romantic comedies. (Spoilers) There's actually two separate post-break up pondering scenes and I didn't feel as strongly as I could have about whether or not Dave and Rafi got back together truth be told. The monologue that David gives is particularly yawn inducing too if you ask me. (End Spoilers)

Big Meryl Streep fans are more than likely to enjoy her comedic performance in Prime as she demonstrates her wide variety of facial expressions. Uma Thurman is good as well but Bryan Greenberg is a little too anonymous for my liking. In the end, Prime contains some sweet, funny and genuine scenes. That's mainly the problem with Ben Younger's film though. It's not sweet, funny and genuine the whole way through and I felt like it could've been. It had every reason to be.

Rating


6/10