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The Crack-Up

Meryl Streep on the Upper West Side, Uma, and her one trip to the couch.

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In Prime, Ben Younger’s romantic follow-up to Boiler Room, Meryl Streep is hysterical—in both senses—as an Upper West Side psychologist who discovers that her twentysomething son is dating her patient, Uma Thurman.

Jewish anxiety, shrinks, the city—sounds like a Woody Allen film. But it doesn’t play like one.
Well, Ben just has so much affection. It just doesn’t have a dark heart, this movie. That’s the kiss of death for some people!

It’s romantic.
Well, it’s about New York as a home. You know, Ben, who grew up here and whose mother is a shrink on the Upper West Side—Oh! I probably shouldn’t say that! She’ll lose her entire clientele now.

Or maybe she’ll get some more business.
Well, let’s just say Ben knows from where he speaks.

Have you ever seen a therapist?
I went to a shrink. Once. Because it was free at Yale, and I was having some problems. He told me, “It’s your last year in the drama school, you’re going to graduate soon, and you’re going to be fine.” And everything cleared up. He was right, so I never saw him again, and he wasn’t much help putting together this role. But I’ve had friends who have been shrinks, people with a gift for empathy.

How was working with Uma Thurman?
I’ve always admired her style; she just cuts a bold swath onscreen. Her lack of vanity—in a really, really beautiful person, it’s a shocking thing.

It looks like you two had fun.
I had lots of fun. Comedy’s hard? No, it isn’t! When it comes to my career, I just do what I want now.

Prime
Written and directed by Ben Younger
Universal Pictures
opens October 28 (PG-13).


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