Marnie (Susan Sarandon) was living in New York when her husband died, she felt lonely, so moved to join her daughter, Lori (Rose Byrne), in Los Angeles. Marnie wants to stay close to her daughter, so calls her regularly and visits her regularly, so much so that it starts to impact on Lori’s relationship with her and starts to draw them apart- It’s “staying close” to a level that could be mistaken for harassment.
Being left with a considerable sum of money following her husband passing, she helps a lot of strangers out with, what are mainly, financial favours. An expensive gift at a friend of Lori’s baby shower, a friend of Lori, Jillian’s (Cecily Strong), wedding, a hospital patient and Freddy (Jerrod Carmichael) an Apple Store employee’s college studies being a few of the favours along the way. She also meets Zipper (J.K. Simmons), who she starts to build a relationship with.
The idea of the story in The Meddler is nice; a Mother who wants to be close to her daughter understanding her boundaries and starts building a relationship with someone else, but all the side stories just makes the movie seem very cluttered. The involvement of so many different characters made me lose focus on the main element of the movie, being the mother-daughter relationship. It was like a nice simple cocktail being ruined by too many other strong flavours.
Written and directed by Lorene Scafaria, Susan Sarandon’s character is the main focus of this movie. She has an appearance in almost every scene as a constantly annoying person, not a criticism of Sarandon at all, her portrayal of the character was incredible, the annoying element of the character however could have been toned down slightly to bring us closer to the story.
Rose Byrne plays Lori very well also; the real emotional moments of the movie are very well portrayed. There are moments when her Australian accent slips through the American accent being put on, but not enough to be distracting. J.K. Simmons is the real hero of this movie for me, a really solid performance and a great character. If only he had the opportunity to play a more substantial part in the movie, the way it was written made the relationship between Marnie and Zipper seem like an afterthought.
The Meddler lies somewhere between a really unfunny rom-com and a very messy romance drama movie that’s drowning in Apple product placements. The idea of the story was there, the writing seemed to shroud the main story with many other characters and their own stories. Sometimes less is more and in The Meddler, I think this applies.