Prime (March 9/06)
Though Prime ultimately succumbs to the various cliches that viewers have come to expect from a romantic comedy, the film is - for a while, anyway - a mature and surprisingly thoughtful look at the unlikely romance that blossoms between an older woman and a younger man.
Uma Thurman stars as Rafi, a 37-year-old professional who - mere days after finalizing her divorce - finds herself falling for a 23-year-old would-be painter named David (Bryan Greenberg). Unbeknownst to Rafi, David is actually the son of her therapist (played by Meryl Streep) - a revelation that invariably creates a whole host of problems for the fledgling couple.
Prime has been written and directed by Ben Younger, whose last effort - 2000's Boiler Room, his debut - was an intriguing yet heavy-handed look at the lives of several up-and-coming stockbrokers. The filmmaker is clearly much more comfortable within the confines of a loose and quirky atmosphere atmosphere such as this, which relies entirely on dialogue and the performances to propel the story forward. Younger does an effective job of capturing the nervous energy and awkwardness that tends to accompany a new relationship, something that's mirrored in Thurman and Greenberg's superb performances (that the two share a genuine sense of chemistry with one another certainly doesn't hurt). Likewise, Streep is expectedly engaging as David's mother - though the character occasionally comes off as an obnoxious bigot, due to her insistance that David only date someone within his own faith.
At a certain point, though, Younger falls back on tired, overly familiar romcom conventions - including the egregious and wholly unnecessary fake breakup (there are two of them here!) - and it's only a matter of time before the film starts to wear out its welcome after that point. And although Prime suffers from a distinctly unsatisfying conclusion, the movie does contain enough positive attributes to warrant an extremely mild recommendation (if only for the hilarious sequence in which Streep's character first discovers the connection between her patient and her son).