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DVD Review: Prime

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Prime is a sophisticated but slow character-driven comedy set in New York City about a divorced woman dating a younger man, which is a basic enough story until it turns out the man she is dating is also her therapist’s son.

The Film
Newly divorced Rafi (Uma Thurman), 37, is a Manhattan businesswoman who’s surprised at how quickly love finds her, especially when it’s with a younger man of 23, Dave (Bryan Greenberg), an artist from Brooklyn. Meanwhile, Dave’s mother (Meryl Streep) is putting pressure on him to marry a Jewish girl within their faith and to follow the life she has planned for him. His mother is also Rafi’s psychiatrist. Not knowing that Rafi is dating her son, she at first encourages her patient to ignore the age difference and to enjoy the new relationship, but when she hears her son is dating someone older she tells him to drop this now. Thus, problems ensue outside of their control despite being in love, especially when Rafi unknowingly and unabashedly tells her psychiatrist about her sex life with her son.

The plot basically consists of the two people falling in love and getting to know each other while dealing with their age and religious differences, which at first are overlooked but are then brought to life as their relationship becomes more serious.

Meryl Streep gives a controlled performance that reveals the flaws of her character. I was expecting her to steal the show but she does a good job playing a supporting role. Uma Thurman meanwhile gives a strong, quiet and neurotic performance, and the unknown among the cast, Bryan Greenberg (One Tree Hill), plays a really endearing character, whose courting of Rafi is uncomfortably funny.

As for the film’s presentation I enjoyed the intimate shots like the close-ups on characters’ feet underneath the table, their wine glasses and views of New York City. The instrumental score for the film plays throughout, not making for many quiet moments. Unfortunately the film, like the two lovers, has a problem wrapping things up and is unnecessarily long.

Special features include deleted scenes, outtakes, director’s commentary and cast and crew interviews. The deleted scenes are interesting but definitely not needed; the outtakes could have been funnier as well. The DVD is available in 1.85:1 full screen and widescreen anamorphic 2.35:1 formats and has subtitles in English, Spanish and French. Available audio tracks are English and French in Dolby Digital 5.1.

I was surprised to have liked this film, but I did mainly because of the realistic characters and good acting. I also found it interesting that it wasn’t just a simple romantic comedy and instead showed that it’s not always easy to hold on to love. The ads made it look like another Monster In Law film, but it has much more depth and unfortunately less comedy.

The Upside:
A refreshingly simple offbeat romantic comedy.

The Downside:
It drags near the end and could have ended much sooner, and due to the social taboo there are many uncomfortable moments and not the happiest of endings.

On the Side:
Many of the scenes in Prime were filmed in the West Village of Manhattan, on my street actually. It even shows the Magnolia Bakery, made famous in Sex and the City.

Making the Grade:
The Film: C+
The Delivery: B
The Extras: C+
Overall: B-

DVD Release Date: March 7, 2006

By Tara Settembre, a Staff Writer for Film School Rejects

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