Prime Review

Oct 28, 2005 | 5:31am EDT

The title is perplexing. Is it about being in the prime of your life? Or is it about getting ready to start anew? Maybe it’s about math. No wait that’s Proof. Actually Prime tackles both themes of starting anew and being at your peak. For Manhattanite Rafi (Uma Thurman) a 37-year-old photographer reeling from a recent divorce that means finding a new love with David (Bryan Greenberg) a 23-year-old Jewish artist. Rafi's therapist (Meryl Streep) is thrilled for her patient--until of course she finds out it’s her own son Rafi has fallen for. You see not only is Rafi 14 years older than David and wants different things from life she also is not Jewish--a big no-no in David’s family. It doesn’t seem likely this charmed couple can overcome such vast obstacles.

Outside director Quentin Tarantino’s realm Thurman’s performances have been spotty at best. But in Prime she proves her mettle--and finally gets to play a real girl instead of an butt-kickin’ assassin out to Kill Bill. The actress has never looked more luminous and she gives an emotionally layered performance as the divorcée just looking for a meaningful relationship. Greenberg (TV’s One Tree Hill) also holds his own as the terribly sweet and eager David who can’t help himself. Together the two keep it real and sexy. Streep unfortunately weighs things down. Comedies have never been the Oscar winner’s forte and her Jewish mother is way too over the top. She never really seems to connect with anyone.

It’s intriguing that the guy who wrote and directed the testosterone-driven Boiler Room a poor man’s Wall Street can turn around and make a fairly convincing movie about a May-December romance. Apparently writer/director Ben Younger had the idea for Prime mulling around in his brain for eight years giving him plenty of time to flesh out real characters. He also surprisingly manages to escape the romantic pitfalls--no pat ending here. The problem is Younger likes to hear himself talk. The film tends to run on--in serious intonations no less--especially with the scenario involving the disapproving Jewish mother. There is enough conflict between Rafi and David with the age difference alone don’t you think? Just ask Demi and Ashton.

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