Review: Rancid dark comedy ‘Flower’ left to decompose

Will there be a worse movie released this year? The gauntlet has been thrown

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

There isn’t a single kernel of emotional truth to be found in “Flower,” a lamentable dark comedy that treats subjects such as teen suicide, pedophilia and drug use with the nuance of a jackhammer.

Dylan Gelula, left, Maya Eshet, and Zoey Deutch star in comedy/drama “Flower.”

Director Max Winkler dumps his characters into the kind of fatalistic nightmare world that at least Gregg Araki had the good sense to send up in his run of ’90s teenage apocalypse films. Winkler plays it straight, which gives the film no grounding in anything resembling reality. When Erica (Zoey Duetch) greets her mom (Kathryn Hahn, what are you doing in this?) by mock-tongue kissing her, any hopes of subtlety or honesty go up in flames.

Erica is a bored teenager who extorts locals for cash through sexual blackmail to save up bail money for her “awesome” dad, who got busted knocking over a casino. Mom has a new boyfriend, a square type (Tim Heidecker) whose emotional basket case of a son, Luke (Joey Morgan) is just out of rehab for a pill problem. Winkler, who co-wrote the putrid script, acts like he’s taking a flamethrower to societal taboos, but is instead scraping the bottom of the barrel for low-rent shocks in an empty, depressing attempt to appear scandalous.

Erica and Luke form an unlikely partnership to take down Will (Adam Scott), a local teacher whom Luke once accused of molestation. That Deutch (the daughter of Lea Thompson) comes across even the least bit appealing through any of this is a testament to her radiant charisma. She’s a flower in the middle of a graveyard of toxic waste.


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Rated R for crude sexual content and language throughout, graphic nude drawings, some drug content, and a brief violent image

Running time: 93 minutes