Prime (2005)

Genre(s): Comedy / Drama / Romance
Universal || pg13 - 105 minutes - $29.98 || March 7th, 2006
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2006-03-03


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Ben Younger
Writer(s): Ben Younger (written by)
Cast: Meryl Streep, Uma Thurman, Bryan Greenberg, Jon Abrahams


Theatrical Release Date: October 28th, 2005


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Director & Producer Commentary
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Outtakes
  • Prime-Time Players Featurette


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

Plot Outline (from DVD back cover): When Rafi (Uma Thurman), a 37-year-old single woman, meets David (Bryan Greenberg), a 23-year-old painter, it's love at first sight. But that love gets complicated - fast - when Rafi discovers that David is also the son of her therapist (Meryl Streep)!

Prime is a cute romantic comedy that goes, for 45 minutes at least, beyond the typical plot. It also, though, uses an all too familiar plot device (used on sitcoms like "Friends" and "Frasier") where one character knows something about another but doesn't tell that person about it, instead just keeps quite for as long as possible, thus building the comedy. If the trailer hadn't revealed the "twist" -- that a therapist's son is dating her daughter --, I think the reveal and subsequent scenes would've made those scenes much more fun than they ended being.

There is another aspect of the film that did surprise me some. While a little over a half deals with mom dealing with her young son dating an older woman (and a non-Jewish one at that), the rest is a character study of sorts with divorcee Rafi finding love after being jilted after 9-years of marriage and David finding his own career and acceptance from his overbearing mother. The film does suffer from being a bit overly ambitious as writer/director Ben Younger (wrote and directed the underrated Boiler Room) seems to keep a distance and not let the audience grow fond of these characters. It's not to say they're unlikable, but I didn't feel anything as the film faded out.

It's quite like many of the films in 2005: certain parts are touching, even memorable, however in the end, they don't amount to much. For example, here we have a very good cast like Meryl Streep (Kramer vs. Kramer), Uma Thurman (Kill Bill), semi-newbie Bryan Greenberg (The Perfect Score) and Jon Abrahams (Meet the Parents), but despite the talent, this a script that doesn't allow the audience to truly connect on an emotional level and therefore, it's not a movie that many (outside the few who absolutely loved it) will remember in the future.

On the positive side, Meryl Streep and Uma Thurman both give fine performances and work well together. They are also actors that can work inside any genre and still give their characters depth: for Streep it was 2003's The Manchurian Candidate, Thurman the Kill Bill movies.

In the end, both ladies, and the rest of the cast members, make Prime worthy of a rental or, for those who enjoy the genre, a purchase. Because on the one hand you won't find the typical romantic-comedy... but on the other, you will. However, take out the whole "patient dating the therapist's son" subplot; it could've been so much more.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

The Prime DVD has the standard fare of features, so don't go in expecting much, though what's there is better than nothing, of course.

Director & Producer Commentary - Ben Younger and producer Jennifer Todd provides the audience bits of trivia about the making of Prime, like where scenes were shot (the entire movie was filmed in New York). The two have been friends for years -- they were on the Boiler Room commentary -- so they have some good banter. The one drawback is the track is a bit dry at times and could've used at least one other person to fill 'em (like Bryan Greenberg or Jon Abrahams).

Deleted Scenes - The disc includes 11 deleted scenes which means one thing, it's safe to say there won't be Prime: The Director's Cut... But seriously, in all the scenes run around eight and a half minutes and most actually were decent on its own, though this would've put the runtime over 2 hours. Some highlights include "Morris orders another pie" amd "Rafi Sleeps Over" (we actually get to see the painting under the cloth in Dave's room). I do wish they had split up the scenes into chapters, as it would've made for easier viewing on their own.

Outtakes - Really the typical footage of some line flubs and such that are funny but nothing special. This one actually was broken down into chapters and runs nearly 4 minutes.

Prime-Time Players - Your basic 'making-of' featurette where cast and crew members chat about the movie, what makes it special and about the genre in general. You do get insight into Younger's past and how he likes to direct his movies and comes up with the stories. One of the more interesting parts was Younger talking about the old Woody Allen movies like Annie Hall and how different romantic-comedies are today.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

Picture: Director Ben Younger gives a light-hearted and, as he described his own approach to directing, "loose and neurotic." He likes to keep a fun and easygoing set and that translates as well to the screen with great skyline visuals of New York or on the city streets.

Sound: The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is OK but I'm not picky when it comes to a movie where the loudest noise comes from a slamming door or raised voices...



.::OVERALL::.

Overall, Prime, despite my complaints with the subplot, is still good and for anyone who enjoys the genre and would like to see something new, this is certainly worth a rental and later a purchase if it's cheap enough. In regards to the DVD itself, there's really much in terms of substantial special features, I had hoped for a better commentary but again, if you like informative tracks, you might get some enjoyment out of it.