FLOWER – A Review by Cynthia Flores
This is not your average teen rom-com and not for people that are easily offended. The film is full of sexual references and situations. In fact we meet the lead in Flower, Erica (Zoey Deutch), as she finishes giving a cop a blow job in his patrol car. As officer Dale (Eric Edelstein) buttons up his pants he says, “Wow where did you learn to do that?” to which Erica nonchalantly replies, “In middle school” as she wipes off her mouth. Unbeknownst to Officer Dale, her friends Kala (Dylan Gelula) and Claudine (Maya Eshet) are riding up on their bicycles to record what's happening on their cell phone. They all threaten to expose him on the internet unless he pays up. He does and the girls go hang out at the mall. That should tell you the level of bravado the movie takes towards young girls and their sexual politics.
Erica is a slightly damaged teenager but we never find out why. She has been saving the money she got from blackmailing and keeping a list of the guys they have scammed, along with drawings of their penises. This goes well beyond “quirky”. She’s also saving up the cash in an effort to bail out her long absent dad from jail. At home, she has a close relationship/friendship with her hands off mom, Laurie (Kathryn Hahn), who’s engaged to Bob (Tim Heidecker). Now Bob, along with his eighteen-year-old heavy-set son, Luke (Joey Morgan), who has just been released from rehab, have moved into her home with her and her mom. Cue the instant tension in the house over that situation. A lot of the story revolves around the unorthodox relationship that develops between Erica and her mentally unstable soon to be stepbrother.
I will not give the whole movie away because there’s not a lot there. Besides the storyline of teen girls using sex as a weapon against guys they consider “pervery” because they’re into sexual contact with underage girls, there is a twist in the plot. Lets just say there’s a plan put in place by Erica and her friends to scam the ex-teacher, Will (Adam Scott), that Luke says molested him and started him down his rabbit hole of drug abuse and overeating. This to the girls is a terrible thing to do because it will lead to being fat.
Flower is not a feel good film. It deals with topics like underage causal sex, pedophiles, blackmail and ultimately murder. It is, however, very funny and at times the lead performance of Erica by Zoey Deutch can be heartbreaking. Flower is not as shocking as the 1995 controversial film Kids because all the sex acts in Flower are merely implied and not thrown up on the big screen – which I really appreciated because we don’t always have to see what's happening to know what’s going on. However, I felt like there was more backstory to Erica and her friends and why they thought nothing of trapping and blackmailing grown men. Also, her relationship to her dad is never fully explained. The story just has too many holes it in to hold up the dark humor of it all. For that reason I would not rush out to see this on the big screen unless it was a matinee but it would be worth a view once it hits VOD. So I give Flower a C+ Rating.
Directed by Max Winkler
Written By Alex McAulay, Matt Spicer, Max Winkler
Running Time 1hr 30min
Drama / Comedy
Limited Release March 23rd at Angelika Film Center Dallas and Plano
Starring: Zoey Deutch, Kathryn Hahn, Adam Scott, Joey Morgan, Dylan Gelua, Maya Eshet, Tim Heidecker
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.