An Age Old Question
Have you heard the one about the thirty-something divorcee, the Jewish twenty three year old and his psychotherapist mother? Well it may sound like a joke but that is the set up to "Prime" a romantic comedy which seems to try and fill the middle ground between cliche mainstream and a Woody Allen movie mixing mainstream humour with a bit of depth and analysis. I say try because it doesn't quite pull it off and that is mainly because "Prime" is a movie perfect for big laughs; well any movie which sees a young woman talking to her therapist about her sex life and partner's penis unknowing her therapist is her partner's mum is ideal for big laughs. But it is entertaining and whilst some of the laugh opportunities are wasted it does at least buck being predictable when it comes to how the story plays out.
Having just signed her divorce papers 37 year old Rafi (Uma Thurman - Kill Bill: Vol. 2) is messed up and is seeing Lisa Metzger (Meryl Streep - Dancing at Lughnasa) a therapist to work out her issues especially as she is suddenly feeling the urge to have children. But just two weeks after getting divorce she meets 23 year old Jewish artist David (Bryan Greenberg - Bride Wars) and whilst issues of age and religion concern her the sex is great and she is falling in love. The only trouble is that she is telling her therapist all about her wonderful sex life with this younger man not realising that David is her son, leaving Lisa to deal with the awkwardness of hearing all about her son's beautiful penis and love making ability.
There are basically two sides to "Prime" with the main storyline being the difficulty of a relationship between 37 year old Rafi and 23 year old David especially as following her divorce Rafi is starting to think about children. It is not the most original of storylines but with the addition of David being Jewish and Rafi not adds complication over religion to the mix. But in many ways this side plays out like expected with Rafi fearing falling in love with someone much younger despite the sex being terrific and then when she does realising that whilst David is grown up still has that young side to him, perfectly highlighted when she buys him a Nintendo for his birthday and he would rather play a game than go to bed.
This side is then accompanied by the humour of Rafi having therapy with Lisa and talking openly about her love life to the point that she even discusses her lover's beautiful penis. Of course we then have the humour of Lisa discovering that Rafi is dating David making it awkward for her as she doesn't tell Rafi and so listens to her discussing sex with her son with her. And this does nicely interweave when it comes to the religious barrier in Rafi and David's relationship as Lisa is a proud Jew and expects David to settle down with a Jew.
But here is the thing, this is a movie perfect for big laughs, the awkwardness of Lisa hearing all about David having sex should be packed full of big gags as should when she also hears what David says about how his mother raised him. Whilst there are some big laughs far too many of them are wasted as director Ben Younger tries to be more subtle and deliver something closer to a Woody Allen movie. Maybe some will prefer this as it turns mainstream material into something a bit different but for me it just feels like a waste of what could have been a laugh out loud mainstream comedy.
"Prime" certainly has the talent to be a great mainstream comedy and whilst Meryl Streep may not have sprung to mind as the ideal choice to play a Jewish psychotherapist she pulls it off nicely with out making it a stereotypical caricature. And there is something seriously sexy about watching Uma Thurman as she comes alive through having great sex with a younger man. Talking of which Bryan Greenberg delivers a nice mix of being a typical lazy young man whilst also one with a grown up side. And the trio work well together and do a nice job of delivering the big laughs as well as the subtle ones.
What this all boils down to is that "Prime" is a fun movie which whilst having the unoriginal storyline of a relationship troubled by age difference makes it funnier with the whole mother, therapist angle. But to me "Prime" would have worked so much better as an out and out mainstream romantic comedy playing it for laughs with obvious humour rather than trying to deliver a Woody Allen angle.
Tags: Age Gap Romances