A Review

26 May 2006
by Mandy J Watson
South AfricaCape Town, South Africa

Prime: David Bloomberg (Bryan Breenberg) with Rafi Gardet (Uma Thurman)While there's nothing particularly wrong with Prime - the acting is good, the story doesn't always follow a predictable path (although the trailer destroys some of the surprise and, therefore, I've chosen - later in this review - to give away one aspect of the plot that would have worked much better had it come as a surprise, rather than a selling point), and the pace moves along quite well - there's nothing much about it that stands out. It really is just an average, throwaway movie that's nothing more than light entertainment for an undemanding evening out, perhaps as a first-date movie. The humour, which, to the movie's credit, never dips into the realm of the crass and offensive as movie humour so often does nowadays, holds the piece together well, remaining fresh throughout the film and keeping the audience I was with in stitches the entire time, but it's all largely irrelevant. You come away from this movie with hardly any memory of what you have just seen, as nothing much makes an impression or leaves you with lasting thoughts or considerations.

The two most interesting subjects within the piece - those potential relationship obstacles of age and religion - are glossed over rather than explored, which would have made for a much more compelling story. Instead, the minute the movie appears to be heading towards any possible moment of depth, the opportunity is swatted aside with a throwaway line or a "resolution" of the scene that leads to an immediate scene change. There is very little substance to the scenes that could otherwise be the most compelling, and I couldn't get over how - repeatedly - the movie wasted its opportunities.

Prime: Dr Lisa Metzger (Meryl Streep) with her patient Rafi Gardet (Uma Thurman)Thirty-seven-year-old Rafi Gardet (Uma Thurman), recently divorced, is being counselled back into being able to lead a normal, fulfilling life by Dr Lisa Metzger (Meryl Streep), when she meets a 23-year-old man filled with enthusiasm, vitality, and creativity, David Blomberg (Bryan Greenberg), who sweeps her off her feet in a whirlwind courtship that has her questioning herself and her values when it comes to relationships. As the movie progresses we are drawn with Rafi into this enviable romance, and are entertained by her sessions with Dr Metzger as she begins to overcome the emotional turmoil and self doubt that her divorce created. Rafi then begins to blossom into a love-struck, happy person whose exuberance confuses, but pleases, her world-weary New York friends, who are sophisticated, artistic, and, largely, gay.

Meanwhile, during the sessions Dr Metzger first begins to suspect, and then eventually realises for certain, that the man that Rafi is seeing is her own son. Dr Metzger has very defined ideas regarding who he should choose to marry, based primarily on religion, which is in stark contrast to the unbigoted, objective advice that she gives to her patients. She becomes conflicted as to whether she should hide what she has figured out and remain as Rafi's therapist to continue the work that they have being doing or rather realise that there is a conflict of interest and - essentially - recuse herself and recommend a new therapist.

Much situationally-uncomfortable hilarity ensues but - unfortunately - that's about as complimentary as I can be, except to mention that Meryl Streep's performance, although played to the true "Jewish mother" cliché, is particularly charming.

Prime: The family gathers for dinnerIt's hard for me to say much more about the story without giving away plot details you won't be expecting and me therefore spoiling the movie, so it's difficult for me to discuss certain aspects that I did like or specifics that I would have liked to have seen improved, as I will immediately give away too much. There is something to be said for the fact that the story does not run the normal course of the romantic comedy, although I can think of another, in some ways comparable, movie that follows a similar course (which, naturally, I cannot name or it will spoil this movie*), so I'm not claiming that it is unique, just different enough not to be labelled "another romantic comedy". However the other movie in question handles similar kinds of relationship obstacles with greater skill and, unlike with Prime, one comes away from it with much to contemplate that stays with you for a long time.

Unlike many movies, you won't regret having watched Prime, but you may, soon after, begin to forget any of the specifics of the plot or perhaps even the fact that you have seen the movie at all. It really leaves little residual impression and is more suited, as I mentioned, to being a date movie or for one of those evenings in which you would like some undemanding entertainment to wile away a few hours while you relax after a hard, stressful day.

*If you really want to know, view the source code of this page at this line of text. Opinion
Key Facts
Year: 2005
Format: Feature; widescreen; colour
Running Time: 105 minutes (approx)
Language: English
Country: USA
Director: Ben Younger
Writing: Ben Younger (written by)
Cast: Meryl Streep ... Lisa Metzger
Cast: Uma Thurman ... Rafi Gardet
Cast: Bryan Greenberg ... David Bloomberg
Cast: Jon Abrahams ... Morris
Cast: ...full credits
Cinematography: William Rexer
Film Editing: Kristina Boden
Music: Ryan Shore
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