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Review: Movie is 'Prime' entertainment

Wonderful romantic comedy has good script, performances

By Paul Clinton
For CNN.com

Prime
Meryl Streep and Uma Thurman in "Prime," about a therapist whose son is dating a patient.

FACT BOX

'Prime'

Starring: Meryl Streep, Uma Thurman, Bryan Greenberg

Written and directed by: Ben Younger

Studio: Universal

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS

Review
Uma Thurman
Meryl Streep

(CNN) -- There's a bright new talent in town and his name is Ben Younger.

The 32-year-old Younger made an impressive writing and directing debut in 2000 with the intense drama "Boiler Room." Now he's switching gears -- and showing exceptional range -- with an extremely well-written adult romantic comedy, "Prime," starring Meryl Streep and Uma Thurman.

Thurman stars as Rafi, a 37-year-old recent divorcee who -- against her better judgment -- becomes involved in a relationship with a 23-year-old painter named David, played by Bryan Greenberg.

The complications of her love at first sight, May-December affair become the main topic of conversation in free-wheeling therapy sessions with Dr. Lisa Metzger, played delightfully by Streep.

Rafi is worried. She and David a few differences, she tells Dr. Metzger, and then there's that 14-year age gap and David's demanding relationship with his overly protective Jewish mother. But she's obviously happy, and Metzger encourages her to enjoy the young man's youthful attentions.

So Rafi does, and in a series of increasing funny scenes Rafi describes in graphic detail all the ins and outs of their sexual encounters, with Metzger egging her on from the sidelines.

And then it dawns on Metzger that the young man in question is actually her own son. Suddenly she's hearing all the gory details of her darling little boy's sexual proclivities. Watching Thurman gush and Streep blush is truly hilarious.

Refreshingly bright

It all makes for great comedy -- and also some thoughtful insights. Younger layers and builds the story, taking advantage of every opportunity for humor while also creating a very candid portrait of a modern adult relationship.

A character-based, adult comedy has become a rare item in Hollywood. "Prime" is refreshingly bright, unpredictable and intelligent while still offering moments of giddy humor that take you totally by surprise.

Streep is without doubt one of the world's greatest dramatic actresses, but she can also let it rip when it comes to comedy. Her timing is impeccable. It's also nice to see Thurman in a light-hearted role after all the blood and guts of the two "Kill Bill" movies.

Younger's insight into the female psyche is remarkable and his characters are wonderfully complex.

The title of the film refers to the fact that the two lovers are both in their sexual prime. But, fortunately, it also describes the quality of the film. "Prime" is the best comedy I've seen this year.

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