Some films just leave you scratching your head asking: What did I watch? Who is this for?
One of the last time I remember feeling this was about a film was when I watched 2001’s train wreck “Freddy Got Fingered”, which is filled to the brim with nonsensical and crass shock humor, such as its classic meat piano scene “Daddy Would You Like Some Sausage?” Films like this seem to exist to elicit WTF moments from your friends, and my girlfriend certainty got plenty of those reactions from me when she insisted that I watched 2017’s “Flower” with her.
With some billing it as a dark comedy, “Flower” focuses on a 17-year-old girl named Erica Vandross (Zoey Deutch) who, along with the help of her friends Kala (Dylan Gelula) and Claudine (Maya Eshet) extort money from the local adults by having Erica perform sexual acts on them and blackmailing them for it. And that’s pretty much her character. She’s crassly and offensively written, has no onscreen charisma despite the fact that Deutch is clearly trying to do the best with what she’s given, and is pretty forgettable in her own story.
Her life takes an unexpected turn when she meets her new stepbrother, Luke Sherman (Joey Morgan), who has recently completed rehab and suffers from severe depression. As such, Erica spends much of her time trying to get him to cheer up, and Luke serves as the straight man to her ridiculous antics. Luke reveals that he was once sexually assaulted by his former teacher, Will Jordan (Adam Scott), who just so happens to go to the same bowling alley Erica and her friends frequent, so the bulk of the film involves Erica and company trying to get back at him in some way. And it not only doesn’t work, it’s really horrible, as most of the film involves Erica and co. making fun of or downplaying Luke’s trauma in favor of talking about how attractive Jordan is, which not only is it morally dubious to have these character idolize a sexual predator, but there’s no purpose for it, which can also be said of the entire film. It really demands the questions: Who is this for? and Why make this?
I reject the notion that this film is a dark comedy, because that would suggest that there is some sort of comedic structure to any of the film. There isn’t any setup and punchlines as there is offensive dialogue and delicate themes handled with the care of a jackhammer just to be offensive and shocking.
Overall, I cannot recommend this film. The only thing it has going for it is its odd creative choices, but even as a WTF film, I feel like there are more spectacular failures on the market to show your friends. It had about as much impact on me as the many horrible parody comedy films of the late 2000s and early 2010s.
“Flower” gets a 1/10