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Prime
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 2006
I've seen this several times now (I actually lived this story -- a 30-ish woman who dated and fell in love with a 20-ish man) - the truth is very accurately portrayed here. Anyone can love (and be loved by) anyone. Love does what it does. I know that sometimes you just don't have a choice of you you love. The movie shows this relationship (just like any other relationship) having it challenges, as well as blissfully happy times. What I love about the movie is that it shows that the 30-ish woman just had a bit more wisdom, lived a bit longer, and accomplished somewhat more than her younger lover -- BUT that none of this mattered, because the younger man actually gave her love, which she returned. In the end, because of their differences, she used her wisdom and experience to do what was best for her lover. It ended a little sadly, but with love and beauty. Yes, this sounds slightly sappy. But, for those who've experienced the real thing -- I bet you can relate. Speaking for myself, my relationship ended painfully, but I don't regret it...because the love I lived in was real.
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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful
A comedy of errors and age differences, "Prime" (referring to a man and woman's sexual prime which are at different ages) is a clever film that didn't play well in theaters. Perhaps it got lost in the glut of holiday event movies or the lack of buzz because that's too bad. While it isn't a great romantic comedy it has charm and a great comedic performance from Meryl Streep as well as appealing performances (and chemistry)from Uma Thurman and Bryan Greenberg.

Rafi (Uma Thurman)is mired in a messy divorce that's taken all of the joy out of her life. Until she meets David (Bryan Greenberg)a man 14 years her junior living with his grandparents. Her therapist Lisa Metzger (Meryl Streep)is pleased for her until she realizes that the stories that Rafi's been relating about her new love is about her son. While the film does occasionally steer into sitcom territory the appealing cast and performances keep the film on course most of the time.

"Prime" looks very nice in this widescreen transfer. For those who hated widescreen there's also a separate full screen release available as well. The special features are quite limited and could be better. While we get a decent commentary track from the director and producer, I'd rather hear the cast talk about their characters and in particular hear about the experience of Thurman and Greenberg working together in this romantic comedy with Streep. We get a standard "making of" featurette where the director discusses his inspiration (one of those hit-by-lightning moments when he wondered what it would be like if the girl he was dating was seeing his mother a therapist and neither one knew about the other). This romantic comedy certainly deserved more inspired featurettes--what about one on the trials and tribulations of women dating younger men?

While the film isn't perfect it's entertaining and has a marvelous comedic performance from Streep as well as great chemistry between Thurman and Greenberg on screen. "Prime" is an appealing romantic comedy that isn't a bad way to spent an afternoon.
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
This is one of those one-of-a-kind comedies. It's sexy, hilarious, bittersweet and realistic. Superb performances by Uma Thurman, Meryl Streep and Bryan Greenberg add so much credibility to the plot and the sweetness of the story.

When 23-year-old David (Bryan Greenberg) who comes from a traditional Jewish family falls in love with 37-year-old Rafi (Uma Thurman), a sexy divorcee that believes in Christ, hell and heaven break lose. David's mother (Meryl Streep) is Rafi's therapist who helps her through her divorce and her relationship with this new flame, this young buck for whom she's head over heels. David's mom soon realizes that the man her patient is in love with is her own son. Confused with hilarity (Meryl Streep is fantastic playing a Jewish mama), she tries to be fair to both her patient and her son.

This is a film for everyone that's ever been in love. It's sweet, heartwarming and love affirming. Go see it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2006
(originally published at Sound the Sirens Magazine)

If age was nothing more than a number, the characters in this Ben Younger directed flick would meander through this picture with very little to do. While entrenched in the typical romantic comedy type vehicle, Prime actually delves a little deeper than your standard studio fare. Keen on expressing character struggle and complicated relationship dilemmas, it is a juggling lesson between trying to be deep while still basic enough to cater to larger audiences.

Rafi (Thurman) is a 37-year-old recent divorcee who finds comfort in the much younger (14 years younger) David, an eager but naïve recipient of Rafi's desire for love. Having to deal with the generational gap is cause for concern, and coincidentally, Rafi's psychiatrist happens to be David's mom (played with sparkling flair by Streep). Cue uncomfortable conversations regarding David's anatomy and in-bed bravado and you have a talk no mom wants to be involved in. Herein lies the film's most interesting conflict- Streep is brilliant as she stumbles and fumbles through her son's apparent lack of concern for religious stability and love for Rafi as she tries to balance her role as psychiatrist and mother.

The relationship between the three is fun, emotional, humorous and by far, provides the audience with Prime's most interesting moments. It's these exchanges and coming to terms with the situation that gives Prime a certain "indie flick" feel to it- a bold step in trying to scrape deeper than the usual surface material found in more conventional romantic/comedic affairs. Whether it is Rafi and David dealing with their age gap ("if you like sex, no Nintendo!") or Streep's initial breakdown upon discovering the relationship, director Ben Younger advances through these situations with enough care to highlight the more serious complications while still making them approachable to viewers who prefer relationship conflict with less tension.

There are however, brief interchanges that make Prime feel as if it were a 20-minute sitcom pilot stretched far beyond the hour-mark. There's David's bumbling sidekick (Abrahams) who provides nothing more than cheap laughs, and a myriad of plastic characters that seem rather lifeless compared to the main three. They weave in and out of the narrative while never connecting with any of the leads.

Prime is interesting enough to ask the right questions about age, relationships (boy-girl, mother-son and so forth) and the outcome of the decisions made. It isn't without its faults as at times, it struggles to figure out just what it wants to be. For the most part, the film succeeds in being both entertaining and interesting, and when it comes to romantic comedies, it's more than you can ask for these days.

DVD Features: Not the kind of the DVD you buy for the extra features as they are few and far between. It's the usual stuff- outtakes, deleted scenes ... thankfully the film itself is good enough to warrant a DVD purchase.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 28, 2006
Surprisingly good comedy about Uma Thurman who is seeing a psychologist (Meryl Streep) because of a recent divorce. When she is not working, Streep has the role of the stereotypical Jewish mother who frets over her son. One day she meets a much younger man, David 23. She starts talking to Streep about David but tells him he is 27. The audience realizes that David is in fact Streep's son but Streep has no way of knowing. Thurman asks her if she should really consider pursuing David, since he is so much younger. Streep tells her to go ahead and that it might help get her out of her depression.

Things get hairier as Thurman and David become lovers and Thurman starts describing in vivid detail to Streep about their encounters. Pretty soon Streep starts to figure out that Thurman's David is the same David that is her son. This almost causes her to have a heart attack since Thurman is not Jewish and a lot older and Streep knows all the graphic play by play of what has been transpiring between the two of them.

When she finally gets her own bearings she goes to her own psychologist to seek advice. Streep explains her moral dilemma and whether she should tell Thurman about her conflict of interest and stop treating her. The psychologist suggests that it is probably a fling that David will be done with in a couple of weeks and that if Streep has been very beneficial to Thurman then the disruption would probably cause Thurman to regress, Streep then feels it is in the best interest to continue to council Thurman no matter how personally embarrassing it may be.

What follows is a lot of uncomfortable conversations between Streep and Thurman where we see Streep with all her remarkable talent, squirming at the details that Thurman is presenting. Of course the audience knows that this will not be a fling and things will continue to get more dicey for Streep as the couple's relationship seems to progress to the next level.

This is a really fun movie and it is nice to see that Streep is just as brilliant in doing comedy as her usual drama fare.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HALL OF FAMEon November 29, 2006
I enjoyed this film and sat through the whole thing waiting to see how it turns out, so that puts it a step beyond most pictures, the kind I walk out on. That's not to say that PRIME isn't mindnumbingly predictable, because it's filled with chunky bits from other, older, better movies. And yet, the original part is so different that it stands out in a field of romantic competition. I see the movie as the story of Morris, a 23 year old prodigy who suffers from a sexual tragedy involving not being able to get a second date from any woman he goes out with. A bizarre, Kraft-Ebing compulsion then demands that he seeks vengeance by throwing a pie in their faces. I suppose it's the spectacle of their beautiful faces just peering in anguish through a cloud of fluffy meringue that must turn Morris on, perhaps a sublimated form of the so-called "money shot" X rated movies depend on. In any case, PRIME follows Morris around on expeditions related to his pie fetish, shopping with a friend (Bryan Greenberg as "David," the painter of modern life) at a light-filled bakery and inquiring of the shopgirl if the pie was baked fresh today.

I wonder if that was to assuage the feelings of the audience, to make sure we knew that no females were hurt during the making of the film, and perhaps to indicare that Morris actually doesn't want to injury these girls permanently (writer director Ben Younger, who also made the superior BOILER ROOM years back, indicates that Morris uses only cream pies in these attacks). For a pecan pie or something like that would do quite a bit of damage. Yet the film remains a cold, clinical picture of a man out of control, with sociopathic dimensions, and as such it would make a good double bill with HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER, or perhaps Michael Powell's PEEPING TOM.

The accoutrements of his crime slide by the other characters in the movie, although Uma Thurman (as fashion photographer Rafi) is justifiably upset when she finds Morrie in her closet, rendering her pet cat unconscious with a bottle of beer). Most of the time, they're just thinking, "Pie throwing, a staple of American comedies since Mack Sennett's Keystone Kops," so something in our movie going experience has hot-wired the human body to associate a pie in the face with laughter, and Younger wants to peel back those associations and reveal pie throwing as the hate crime it is.

SPOILER WARNING: At the end of the film, Morris gets his comeuppance, and the sight of his handsome, well, goofy face ringed with cream gleams with neo-expressionist horror, like the skinned face in Michele Soavi's Italian horror film LA SETTA.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2006
Ben Younger's feature film debut was the brash yet hopelessly derivative Boiler Room that featured a cast of up-and-comers (like Giovanni Ribisi and Vin Diesel). The film spent too much time quoting Wall Street and trying too hard to be a new Millennium version of Glengarry Glen Ross. Fortunately, he decided to say something more personal with his next film, Prime that is also rooted more in realism as opposed to the movie quoting machine that was his first movie.

It's nice to see Uma Thurman play someone her age and not some immature Barbie doll. She looks stunning as ever but in an approachable way, like her character in Beautiful Girls. Rafi is a very grounded person and the dialogue between her and David is authentic. There is genuine chemistry between the two leads.

Younger doesn't overdue it with the kitschy, Gershwin by way of Woody Allen music. The Jewish stereotypes are there but implied and no one is overtly neurotic like in Allen's movies. Younger assumes that we are familiar with this kind of romantic comedy and so he doesn't feel the need to repeat what has already been done. He injects Prime with little moments of unpredictable comedy that aren't too slapsticky but develop gradually.

There are a few blemishes on this otherwise fine romantic comedy. David's best friend has an odd quirk. He seems unable (or unwilling) to go on a second date with a woman and ends things by throwing a pie in her face. The first time this happens it is amusing and quirky but it is repeated again and again to disturbing effect to the point where his behaviour borders on seriously misogynistic. Younger never explains why he is like this beyond simple, infantile immaturity.

Prime deals with the baggage that comes with the age difference between a significantly younger man and an older woman and how, in the case of these two people, it is very difficult for them to make it work. They want different things - Rafi wants a child and stability while David has trouble holding down a job and isn't sure what he wants to do with his life. Younger resists the urge to go for a pat, feelgood ending, instead maintaining the consistent, realistic tone that sets this film apart from most New York romantic comedies.

There are 11 deleted scenes that flesh out the relationships between some of the characters but one can see why they were cut.

Also included is an "Outtakes" reel with improvised bits and blown lines that are amusing.

"Prime-Time Players" is a making of featurette. Both Streep and Greenberg also praise the reality of Younger's screenplay. He felt that recent romantic comedies had gotten soft and wanted to get back to the realness of movies like Annie Hall and When Harry Met Sally.

There is an audio commentary by writer/director Ben Younger and producer Jennifer Todd. They proudly state that the entire film was shot in New York City and point out various locations that were used. However, they tend to spend too much time pointing out various locations - so much so that it feels like some kind of informal tour of the city. This is a loose, informal track as the two crack jokes and provide a smattering of comments in this mixed bag affair.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
PRIME is one of those films that perhaps viewing the DVD comments by the cast and crew first before watching the film would enhance the appreciation. This is a solid little work by writer/director Ben Younger who has created a story, somewhat autobiographical, and engaged the interest and devotion of some very fine actors to bring off this simple but very honest view of love and its permutations.

Rafi (Uma Thurman) is a recently divorced, successful fashion worker (she sets up camera shoots for high fashion photographers) who is in therapy with the sensitive and understanding therapist Liza Metzger (Meryl Streep) who supports Rafi's need for love and encourages her to put her bad marriage behind her and find someone who will appreciate her. Reluctantly re-entering the dating scene Rafi meets young artist-wannabe David Bloomberg (Bryan Greenberg) and a chemistry develops between them that eventually results in their meaningful bonding. There are problems to face: Rafi is a 37-year-old Gentile divorcee and David is a 23-year-old Jewish unemployed kid. But the biggest problem is that Rafi's therapist and David's mother are one and the same person! Lisa is conflicted, wanting to provide on-going therapy for Rafi whom she sincerely cares about while insisting that David marry a Jewish girl and not be involved with an older woman! The manner in which this problematic triad is worked through, and it is a bumpy ride, is the story of the film.

The atmosphere of this on the surface illogical story is so well realized - the Jewish family scenes are very funny, the warmth of the relationship between Rafi and David say a lot about love despite hurdles, the inner struggle Lisa faces with her own therapist - that the movie is a natural joy to watch. Meryl Streep gives a fine turn as Lisa, and Uma Thurman and newcomer Bryan Greenberg deliver a wholly credible couple with a fine screen chemistry. This is far more than the usual 'chick flick': this is a little look at human interactions, sensitively related by a fine cast and crew and a film that deserves serious attention as what Romantic Comedies can really be. Recommended. Grady Harp, March 06
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2005
Rafi Gardet (the impossibly tall, lean and beautiful Uma Thurman) is depressed, trying to rebound from a failed relationship and seeking the help of a down-to-earth, yenta-like psychiatrist, Lisa Metzger (Meryl Streep). She is not looking for nor ready to enter into a relationship when she meets David Bloomberg (newcomer Bryan Greenberg) and, despite the age difference (she is 37, he is 23), despite the still gaping wounds of her divorce...she responds to David's youth, vigor and just goes for it.
The sessions between Lisa and Rafi are fun: both actresses being as charming and real as possible which is apporpriate for this style of romantic comedy. Bryan Greenberg is a real find: polished beyond his years and able to stand toe-to-toe, acting-wise with both Thurman and Streep.
Director Ben Younger (the testosterone-driven "Boiler Room") does a good job of juggling the social and moral motifs of the younger man/ older woman/ Jewish/gentile relationship but Rafi, though she certainly enjoys the attention and the always willing to please/adoration coming from David, never really feels comfortable in the relationship. And Younger should have explored this more as it doesn't only have to do with the age difference but with Raft's basic urge to run from anything that is good in her life. We get hints as to why this is throughout the film but Younger explores none of these in depth.
"Prime" is not...but it is a good film that unfortunately only operates on the surface of all the swirling emotions of this film: a concrete exploration of the whys/the hows and the wherefores of Rafi, David and Lisa would have been a better, more incisive and satisfying way to go.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
As "Prime" unfolded before me, I was initially swept up with the story it had to tell. The chemistry and easy charm between Uma Thurman and Bryan Greenberg impressed me, and their subsequent romance and sexual liaison seemed credible. I also enjoyed the relationship between Thurman and her therapist played by Meryl Streep--again, lots of naturalness and humor. Of course, you all know that Streep is Greenberg's mother and that will set off a series of complications.

The film is most successful when dealing with these relationships, and the sweet and thoughtful cadence is appreciated. The moments of broader humor, while sometimes funny, seem at odds with the story the film is trying to tell. I liked the performances, too. Thurman, especially, is evolving nicely as an actress. But the longer the film went on, the more cynical I became. Something in the tone just wasn't right, something started bothering me.

I found certain elements of the film unsettling when I thought about it too much. There is a slight undercurrent of prejudice that wafts through the film. I know that there is still a reality to people wanting their children to marry within their own faith--but Streep's character is a therapist. She and her husband seem happy and progressive, yet can't entertain the idea of their son even dating someone who isn't Jewish. And when he dates a black girl, he can't even tell them. It's all so old fashioned in viewpoint and not particularly kosher. And Thurman's character pretty much supports her young lover. No one ever raises the question of his being a kept man--but that's precisely what he becomes. That certainly wouldn't be unusual in the circles she travels in--but the fact that no one even mentions it seems unlikely. Her friends are too busy swooning at the romance to be the slightest bit skeptical of the motivation behind it.

This is just my "read" on the film--some of the feelings it stirred in me. I doubt that others will feel the same way necessarily. But if I wasn't left with these odd impressions, I surely would have rated this at 4 stars. You can do a lot worse than "Prime"--most of the film I enjoyed as thoughtful and sincere. KGHarris, 11/06.
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