Review: The Meddler, B-
Rated PG-13, 100 minutes
Just in time for Mother's Day comes the appropriately funny, well-meaning dramedy "The Meddler," starring Oscar-winner Susan Susan Sarandon as a nosy mother who becomes a little too involved in her life. Written and directed by Lorene Scafaria of "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist," the pleasant yet occasionally uneven movie is made more enjoyable by the immensely likable Sarandon, who grounds the film well and has the movie's best moments ("I brought some bagels!" she says as if showing up at your door unannounced makes it all better). After the death of her husband, Marnie (Sarandon) moves from New Jersey to Los Angeles to be closer to her daughter Lori (Rose Byrne). Marnie begins interfering with Lori's life, but soon she meets other people who are more in need of her assistance, and she starts helping them. Well-cast and thinly enjoyable, there's no doubt that Scafaria's "The Meddler" is semi-autobiographical and may hit close to home for many who have the meddlesome Mom or any type of friend for that matter, who has the best of intentions and often very generous but can often be a little intrusive into your personal life. As her long-suffering daughter, Byrne plays the straight role well even though she's missing for a good portion of the movie as her mom becomes more involved with her friends than she does (and including the fun Cecily Strong of "SNL" and Lucy Punch from "Bad Teacher") and becomes involved with a low-key ex-cop (Oscar-winner J.K. Simmons) who seems genuinely interested in her. "The Meddler," much like a meddlesome Mom, runs in many different directions, chasing a few unnecessary subplots (including one with an Apple store employee she befriends) that don't hold a lot of meaning to the narrative. The ending is a tad predictable too, but then you might see it coming giving the general premise; if you have someone in your life like this and you know they genuinely care, it's easy to forgive their flaws, and the enjoyable "The Meddler" is the same way, it has a big heart and is sympathetic to its source. Thankfully, it also helps having the appealing Sarandon as the lead (who also listens to Beyoncé and buys iPad's at the drop of a hat) who may annoy and give you a hug at the same time.