If there’s a point to Ben Younger’s pseudo-romantic pseudo-comedy Prime, I couldn’t find it. Meryl Streep is spectacular and Uma Thurman might be even better, but the movie goes nowhere and takes a ridiculously long time to get there.
It’s the story of a middle-aged divorcee named Rafi (Uma Thurman) dating a 23 year-old child named David (Brian Greeberg). Child is an appropriate word, because there’s nothing mature about this kid. He’s 23 going on 16, and Rafi’s insistence on constantly lauding his maturity only makes his immaturity more glaring. Rafi also thinks he’s really funny… because I think somewhere in the film he parroted someone else’s joke. Obviously, she’s inventing reasons to be with him, but the truth is he’s young, hot, and she’s enjoying being single. Of course the film never explores any of that. Instead, the script insists on talking endlessly about true love while Rafi pays David’s bills, and gives him a spot in her cushy pad. There are rules of course. For instance David can’t have over any friends. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that she also forbids him from riding his bike past the end of the block.
As if the relationship between Rafi and the practically pre-pubescent David wasn’t creepy enough, Prime throws in another twist, presumably for comedic effect. Rafi’s therapist Lisa is David’s mother, only Rafi doesn’t know it. Maybe she shouldn’t have told Lisa how much she loves David’s penis. At least she said it was big.
Director/Writer Ben Younger seems to wish he was directing an indie movie, as the film sort of jumps around in that lazy, witless, pretentious fashion that only the most flat, boring indie movies manage. Everyone in the film is an artist, or a therapist, or Jewish. Because of course those are the people that matter, right? But those indie movies Younger is aping, bad though they may often be, are genuine labors of love. They’re trying to be something better, ther just lack the skill to do it. Younger isn’t trying to make anything better than what his movie is, and it’s a big pile of nothing.
Thurman does her best to pick up the slack left by Prime’ disinterested script, but she’s left running in place. Worst is the pivotal miscasting of the movie’s lead. Brian Greenberg is not a talent, he’s a big waste of space. So is the movie by the way, and it’s not worth sticking with it as it drags on and on, forgetting to laugh and struggling to find an inoffensive way to finish. It’s a go nowhere do nothing movie. Go somewhere, do something better than spending time with Prime.
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