Whenever a conversation even starts to head toward thoughts about your parents having sex, it is clearly time for a quick topic change. The same goes for parents about children – it’s just not something they want to know about. This is exactly what Lisa (Meryl Streep) is forced to deal with in the slightly offbeat and very funny movie “Prime” (Universal Pictures), written and directed by Ben Younger (“Boiler Room”).
Lisa, a therapist, encourages Rafi (Uma Thurman), a patient, to pursue her new relationship with a younger man. When she discovers that this man is her son Dave (Bryan Greenberg, “The Perfect Score”), she is much less inclined to encourage 37-year-old Rafi to date Dave, 23. Issues of religion also become a factor for very Jewish Lisa while she struggles internally with her own therapist about what is the ethical thing to do. Should she tell Rafi and risk ruining her relationship with both her and her son, or should she continue to allow herself to hear intimate details of her son’s sex life and his involvement in a relationship that she does not approve of?
While this movie starts out as a stereotypical romantic comedy, it certainly does not continue along that path. Because of the twisted mother/son, therapist/patient and girlfriend/boyfriend relationships, it is a movie that can be enjoyed by members of both sexes. Another aspect that Jews should appreciate is Dave’s bubbe, whom he pictures knocking herself on the head with a frying pan whenever he does something sacrilegious.
Viewers will also appreciate the honesty of the movie. The initial awkwardness between Rafi and Dave when they meet is very well portrayed. There is no first-date perfection, nor do the two lovers omit the issue of their difference in age. Greenberg plays the perfect mixture of cute and naive. However, sometimes for Thurman the awkwardness comes close to stiffness. Her portrayal of Rafi is sometimes too cold for the audience to feel for her character’s plight. As for Streep’s acting, she is the perfect neurotic Jewish mother. She keeps Manishevitz in the fridge, she eats pastrami sandwiches, and most importantly, she is very concerned about the life of her son.
“Prime” should be revered most for its originality. Younger has done a great job with this unique idea and its implementation in this movie. See it for its individuality, see it for the humor, see it for the actors and actresses – just see it.
“Prime” will hit theaters in D.C. on Friday, Oct. 28.