Facebook Twitter

THE MEDDLER: 3 STARS. “kind and sweet but also often exasperating.”

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 3.17.47 PM“The Meddler,” a new Susan Sarandon movie, has a lot in common with its main character. Like the overbearing mother she plays in the film, the movie is frequently kind and sweet but also often exasperating.

Sarandon is Marnie Minervini, the recently widowed mother of a newly single daughter Lori (Rose Byrne). After the death of her beloved husband Joey Marnie moves across country from New Jersey to Los Angeles to be closer to her screenwriting daughter. She’s the kind of mom who drops by unexpectedly, who makes an appointment with her daughter’s therapist to snoop on her life (“Call me and remind me to tell you what your therapist said.”) and constantly mentions Lori’s former flame, actor Jacob (Jason Ritter). When Lori suggests Marni get a hobby, mom, not-so-helpfully says, “Maybe you could be my hobby.”

Fed up, Rose takes a job in New York, leaving her mom with the words, “I need to get a life of my own and so do you.” Marnie replaces her late husband and absent daughter with Apple Store employee Freddy (Jerrod Carmichael) and friend-of-a-friend Jillian (Cecily Strong), strangers she wins over with kindness and money. Blind to the fact that she can’t move on with her own life until she stops meddling in the lives of others, she almost pushes away Zipper, a charming ex-cop played by J.K. Simmons.

“The Meddler” is Sarandon’s movie. She is in virtually every frame and when she isn’t on camera her presence is felt. She hands in an amiably comedic performance— occasionally touching, occasionally frustrating—that makes the most of the script. The story is more a star showcase than a revealing look at mother-daughter relationships. MucThe Rainbow Kid, h is said, but nothing is revealed. Sarandon paints a flamboyant picture of a woman adjusting to a new kind of life, complete with a few crowd-pleasing laughs and a hankie moment or two, but this is an agreeable paint-by-numbers look at family relations, not a finely etched masterpiece.

Comments are closed.