Plot: Erica (Zoey Deutch) is an ambitious young woman, driven to raise the funds she needs to bail her father out of jail. If she can free him, perhaps her life with improve with him around, as she dislikes her current situation. Her mom Laurie (Kathryn Hahn) has a new love in Bob (Tim Heidecker), who is a nice enough man, but a total bore and Erica can’t stand him. When Bob’s son Luke (Joey Morgan) is released from rehab, she is even more displeased and the need to raise the bail cash rises. Her methods for earning the funds is a little odd, as she performs oral sex on various men, then blackmails them when she reveals her friends have videotaped the encounter. Her latest target is a man she’s seen at the local bowling alley often and she learns, was involved in a sexual abuse case with Luke. But what seems like a routine blowjob turned blackmail takes a lot of unexpected, life altering twists.
Entertainment Value: A movie about a teen girl who solves all of her problems by sucking dick, Flower is an odd, but interesting spin on the coming of age saga, with a lot of surreal, colorful moments. The narrative is one we’ve seen numerous ones, with a vibrant female driven to wake up a dormant, stifled world, but Flower has enough odd, sometimes terrible choices to keep things fresh. The movie never seems real or grounded in the least, so if you’re here for a down to earth indie experience, Flower isn’t going to scratch that itch. But if you like manic, darker comedies with memorable characters, then this is a good place to check in. The humor is on the dark and sometimes random side, with that “weird for weird’s sake” vibe at times, but I like the grimy, voyeuristic slant the movie takes. Zoey Deutch is a lot of fun in the lead here, though she takes the quirky cool girl role to insane lengths, which is certain to throw off those used to more tame takes on the archetype. Her performance is wild and over the top in most scenes, but her charm is strong enough to balance that and still hit most of the dramatic tones, when needed. Tim Heidecker is perfect as the least cool person to ever live, while Kathryn Hahn, Adam Scott, Dylan Gelula, Maya Eshet, and Joey Morgan provide solid supporting roles. I had fun with Flower and while it is inconsistent, it provides a mostly fresh take on a well worn genre.
No nakedness. For a movie that has freewheeling blowjobs as a prominent plot thread, Flower is leery of actual sexual content. Erica has a journal where she sketches each of the penises she has sucked, but otherwise, no naked flesh. But the movie does have a texture of sleaze involved, mostly centered on obsessed with Erica and her sexual antics the movie is. A little blood, but a very minor amount and the mild violence is brief and passive in nature. An accidental wound leads to some aftermath bloodshed, but that’s the extent of the violence. The movie’s offbeat, dark sense of humor ensures the dialogue follows suit, giving us some wild lines and memorable exchanges. Deutch has a wealth of hilarious and outlandish dialogue, while her costars are also given ample chances to shine with odd bursts of lines. A little random or bizarre for some perhaps, but I loved the unpredictable dialogue approach taken here. The craziness is rooted in some of the movie’s smaller, but strange moments, which come off as weird, but hint at deeper, darker elements at work. These are broken, damaged people and while the movie doesn’t delve too much into that, their behavior reflects that and gives us a number of wild, outrageous situations.
Overall Insanity: 7/10