Film Review: FLOWER (USA 2016)

A sexually curious teen forms an unorthodox kinship with her mentally unstable stepbrother.


Max Winkler

The film begins with teen Erica (Zoey Deutch) giving a blow job to a sheriff Dale (Eric Edelstein) in his cop car while being filmed on the cell phones by Erika’s friends  (Dylan Gelula, Maya Eshet).  They threaten Dale, extort money, split the money and go their own ways.  An exciting start of the film, no doubt and what transpires through the rest of the film matches the incident in terms or surprise and vulgarity.

The story settles on Erica and her mother (Kathryn Hahn from BAD MOMS) who loves her but gives her free reign.  Erica makes the extra cash not only for herself but to earn enough for bail to spring her father in prison.  Mum has a new boyfriend and Erica promises to be nice to his son, her new step-brother, Luke (Joey Morgan) who has just been sprung from re-hab.  Luke is mentally unstable, fat and is troubled after he accused a teacher of molesting him.

The sparks start flying when the teacher Will (Adam Scott) is seen at the local bowling alley.  Erica decides to help her step-brother.  Good intentions using bad tactics never result in things going well.  Director Max Winker (son of Happy Day’s ‘Fonzie’ Henry Winkler) plays the film as a black comedy which largely works despite a few flaws.

The script co-written by Winkler with  Alex McAulay and Matt Spicer contains problems the foremost being credibility.  The audience is supposed to believe that Erica can make extra pocket money by giving blow jobs which she finds acceptable.  She also offered to give one to her step-brother out of pity.  When questioned, she likens the penis to be similar to a finger without a nail.  But a finger does not pee or cum either.  The script also has Eric fall in love with her fat step brother who actually have no redeeming qualities except for the only one good deed he had done.  Erica is also put up by her long-suffering mother, a point hard to believe.  When mum finally blows up, the story suddenly becomes believable with the mother/daughter confrontation segment making the film’s best part.

The film benefits from some excellent performances mostly from Deutch as the lead and comedian Kathryn Hahn as the mother.  Hahn has proven her comedic and dramatic potential in films like BAD MOMS but also demonstrates that if the vehicle is extremely bad as in A BAD MOM’S CHRISTMAS even she cannot save the movie.  Adam Scott plays the odd role (as least he is an actor daring enough to undertake risky roles like this one and the one in HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2) as the pervert.

The film ends up a rather unbelievable morality tale that borders borders on farce because of the incidents in the story.  The film is supposed to demonstrate that good intentions are all that count.  But it also truthfully shows that if good intentions come about by criminal means there is a price to pay.  Luke ends up in prison and Erica under house arrest.  Entertaining to a point, one wishes the film could have been better.