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Meryl and Tommy Lee prove their Oscar cred in this thin but rewarding rom-com....
Sony / 100 Minutes / 2012 / Rated PG-13 / Street Date: December 4, 2012
Kay (Meryl Streep) wants to get it on. That may sound crass and unfair, but as she and her husband of three decades, Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones), continue to live a co-habitating married life that might as well label them as housemates rather than lovers, it becomes screamingly clear in Hope Springs' opening act that Kay wants to recharge her relationship. She's not just horny (though that's a big part of it): she wants to rekindle a passion with her partner.
She turns to Dr. Feld (Steve Carell), who's basically your typical wedding counselor to the stars. For outrageous amounts of money, he'll oversee a couples' retreat of sorts that will allow for people like Kay to achieve the lives they so desire (and pay for his new Jag, of course). And when Kay convinces Arnold to come on one of these adventures, Hope Springs makes good on its rom-com convictions and offers a light, often awkwardly funny take on middle-aged life and how sex and intimacy plays into it.
Viewers will see which way the wind blows in Hope Springs from the get-go, but David Frankel's film seems quite happy to revel in its predictability. He knows, as most of us do, that a movie like Hope Springs only depends on its high-profile performances, and in that arena, the movie works just fine. Streep and Jones are sensational here - the material itself doesn't exactly let them run wild, but they do way more with it than one might expect. Hope Springs is no classic - it hits its beats with an often lifeless dramatic obligation - but it's never difficult to digest.