I got nothing. No segue, no clever, or “clever” opening this time.
The story looks like it’s about a teen girl, whose mom is about to marry a man with a son who just left rehab. As they get to know each other, she learns from him that his teacher may have inappropriately touched him. Feeling a sense of adventure, she and her friends set out to see if the teacher really is a pervert.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Zoey Deutch (THE DISASTER ARTIST , EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! , VAMPIRE ACADEMY , and upcoming films RICHARD SAYS GOODBYE  and SET IT UP ), Joey Morgan (SCOUTS GUIDE TO THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE  and the upcoming SIERRA BURGESS IS A LOSER ), Adam Scott (THE DISASTER ARTIST, BLACK MASS , THE AVIATOR , and STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT ), Kathryn Hahn (BAD MOM’S CHRISTMAS , THE VISIT , STEP BROTHERS , and HOW TO LOSE A GUY IN 10 DAYS ), and Tim Heidecker (FANT4STIC , VACATION , and BRIDESMAIDS ).
Now for the crew. Directing and co-writing is Max Winkler, known for 7 episodes of NEW GIRL (2011 – ongoing) and other TV shows. Winkler’s partners-in-pen, making for a red flag total of three writers, are Alex McAulay, making his screenwriting debut (congrats, sir) and Matt Spicer (INGRID GOES WEST ). Composing the score is Joseph Stephens, known for OBSERVE AND REPORT (2009). The cinematographer is Carolina Costa, known for a ton of short films, and upcoming films CRYSTAL SWAN (2018) and ICEBOX (2018). Finally, the co-editors are Jeff Seibenick (7 episodes of PARKS AND REC [2009 – 2015]) and Sarah Beth Shapiro (stuff I’ve never heard of, and the upcoming THE ART OF SELF-DEFENSE ).
Overall, early reviews aren’t being too kind to this, but it looks kinda funny. I want to like Deutch, I think she has charm and charisma, but she’s picked some lousy roles these past couple years. Here’s hoping that I like it more than the masses.
This is my honest opinion of: FLOWER
Erica (Zoey Deutch) fancies herself, and her friends, a seventeen year old vigilante, offering blowjobs to any men in her hometown rumored to be creepy, has her friends record on their phones, and threaten them to upload the footage to the internet unless they give them money. One day, her mom, Laurie (Kathryn Hahn), drags Erica to the local rehab center to pick up her future brother-in-law, eighteen year old Luke (Joey Morgan). Though the two start off with a rocky and even awkward relationship, she learns that he was sexually molested in school by the local attractive older man at the local bowling alley that she frequents with her friends named, Will (Adam Scott). Learning this information, she takes it upon herself to expose Will for the pervert that he is.
Ugh… God damn it, and I really wanted to like this, but boy-howdy is the advertising deceptive. I did not like this movie.
All of my problems started right off the bat. For one thing, I could probably get behind a clique of underage teen girls going around offering blowjobs to perverts to out them as such for their own financial benefit, but then right after, it’s a montage of these girls using the money they scam out of these men going to the arcade, taking selfies, and what have you, as if to say that these girls are just like normal girls. Uh… no, Erica and her friends are anything but normal. Look, I’m not saying underage teenagers don’t have sex. I’m not even saying they don’t illegally have sex with older men. But I couldn’t name a single teen girl who called herself a vigilante by going around doing something like this. Or hell, maybe you can argue that I am just that sheltered and this sort of thing happens all the time.
So fine, I’m just a prudish dude, tell me to get over it. I just don’t like thinking about jailbait actually consciously baiting themselves. It’s personal preference at best, but that can easily be laid to rest if Erica was a good character. After all, questionable actions can be forgiven if we’re given identifiable motivations. Well, there’s the problem too. Erica is wholly unlikable. On top of the fact that she takes an obnoxious amount of pride in the things that she does, she’s a bitch. She harbors very little, if any, respect for her mother’s love life and current relationship. And so unapologetic about it too that it’s a wonder why her mother doesn’t have a meltdown earlier in the story. Look, I get it, she’s saving up money to bail out her criminal father from prison, but I feel like her constant coldness and attitude problem befits a ten year old, not a teenager, especially considering how much she seems to love her mom and would think that she would want her mom to be with someone who makes her feel supported and happy. But no, she’s obsessed with putting everyone down and defending a father that we never get to know ourselves. Add hypocritical to her wonderful qualities, she tries to force herself on Luke during the restaurant scene, almost immediately offering a blowjob to her future step brother when he clearly didn’t want her advances, and she does this at least a couple times in the movie. She is incapable of leaving a matter alone. Seriously, this girl needed a swift slap upside her face. She’s judgmental, annoying, violent-prone, a little creepy in some scenes, and a borderline sociopath. Man, if this role was tweaked a little bit, I think Deutch would have been a knock out. If Erica was blackmailing these people and uploading the footage to put these creeps behind bars, not taking so much pride in her sexual advances, maybe I’d tolerate her a little bit more. But as it stands, I couldn’t stand Erica and not once ever gave a shit about her.
Sure, someone can come out and tell me that everything does neatly get wrapped up in the end. We learn that Luke was lying about being molested by Will so long ago, but he wasn’t lying about someone getting molested. He decided to play the victim card instead of letting the girl be the victim… which, the more I think about it, the more stupid that kind of sounds, especially since all he says when confronted about it is, “If I can stop it from happening, I can stop it from happening to someone else,” or some kind of bullshit like that. Hell, it’s probably because he took the blame instead of the girl he thought he was defending that got Will to walk free. If the girl he molested went to the authorities, none of this would be happening. But Luke’s story was inconsistent, the case was thrown out, sure, he lost his job and wife, but he’s free to be in his bowling league. Um… justice?
And wouldn’t it be a little more compelling if Will’s actions were left a little more undefined? Like, he comes out and admits the incident in question, denying it, obviously. But we already know that Luke is a pill-popper, the story he gave to the police was inconsistent, and even later on in the car as they try to escape to Mexico for killing him, Erica tries to rationalize it by saying, “He deserved it, right?” Luke’s response: “I don’t know, maybe.” Um… even later on, he said that he molested a little girl and essentially got away with it! And he “MAYBE” deserved to die?! Get rid of the admission that Will actually did molest someone, wouldn’t it be more thought-provoking if now this puts all of their actions into question?
I won’t lie, there are a few moments where the comedy shines through. There’s this one scene where Erica and Luke are talking about Will and the lines of dialog go something like:
What do you think Batman and Robin would
do if Joker was fingering a little boy’s ass?
Not talk about his bangin’ dad-bod.
I admit, that got a laugh out of me. It’s a tired cliché, but I enjoyed that joke. But beyond this one line, and Laurie’s eventual meltdown against Erica later on in the movie by calling her a selfish twat being particularly satisfying, I can’t say that this movie had many of these moments. It’s a bad movie. The protagonists are unlikable, especially Erica, rendering the entire movie a chore to wade through. As far as a recommendation is concerned, no, I say don’t see it. I like the talent, I really do, they’ve done great stuff in the past, but their talents and charm aren’t done justice here. I don’t even recommend this as a rental. This is a hard pass, folks. All this movie will do is make you mad. Bad decisions… bad movie all around.
My honest rating for FLOWER: 2/5
Next week reviews:
- ISLE OF DOGS
- PACIFIC RIM UPRISING
- PAUL, APOSTLE OF CHRIST
- SHERLOCK GNOMES
- MIDNIGHT SUN
- BEAUTY AND THE DOGS / AALA KAF IFRIT