Meryl Streep as an Upper West Side psychiatrist? She's always seemed so, I don't know, Gentile. But here she is, in Ben Younger's Prime, as not just a Jewish mother but a Jewish-mother joke, a woman who becomes verklempt when she realizes that the 23-year-old man (Bryan Greenberg) whom one of her patients, a 37-year-old woman (Uma Thurman), has been seeing is none other than her son, Dave. Up to this point, she's been all for the idea; Thurman's Rafi, recently divorced, could use the distraction. And the age difference isn't all that big a deal, when you get right down to it. But her own flesh and blood dating a...a shiksa? Oy!
Hard to believe there are still women like that out there, but Streep makes the most of the opportunity, sporting a pair of glasses that turn everything she says into a spritz of seltzer water. She may overdo it, actually, but it was hard to tell: I was too busy laughing. A wistful romantic comedy that takes up where Woody Allen left off (somewhere around Manhattan), Prime is mostly about the May-December ' make that January-April ' romance of Dave and Rafi, who have no business being together except for the fact that they've fallen in love. But is he ready to start a family, be a dad? And is she prepared to keep him in Nintendo games?
Younger, who also wrote the script, doesn't really wrestle with those questions, just pushes them around a little bit, but if all he really wanted to do was revive the New York City that existed only in Woody's pre-Mia, pre-9/11 imagination, he should count himself a success. Thurman, though charming, may be too well preserved to play an older woman. And Greenberg, though charming, tends to fade when there's a more vivid personality around. You may have seen him in HBO's "Unscripted," where he plays something resembling himself, a struggling actor who lands a role in a movie with Meryl Streep. She's the vivid personality I'm talking about.