I first spotted Zoey Deutch in “Why Him,” the raunchy 2016 comedy in which she played the college-age daughter of Bryan Cranston and Megan Mulally who was dating tech billionaire James Franco. Unfortunately, Deutch wasn’t given much to do in that movie. Now she’s the lead character in “Flower,” which is also pretty raunchy, but it’s not played quite as much for laughs.
The movie opens with Deutch’s character, Erica, orally pleasuring a middle-aged cop in the front seat of his patrol car. Unbeknownst to him, her two best friends sneak up and capture the scene on their cell phones, which the three of them then use to blackmail him for a few bucks. It’s obviously not the first time the girls have pulled this scam and then gone to Dairy Queen to celebrate.
Soon we see Erica at home with her mother Laurie (the always compelling Kathryn Hahn), whose ex-husband is in jail and about to be replaced in the home by her boyfriend Bob along with his son, Luke. Put off by them at first, Erica eventually befriends Luke, who shares with her his story of having been sexually molested by a teacher named Will, (Adam Scott) who she knows as the hot middle-aged guy she’s had her eye on at the bowling alley. After hearing Luke’s story, Erica decides to help him get retribution on Will, and things get a little crazy from then on.
Max Winkler (son of Henry) directs all of this with some pretty good timing as he walks a thin line between the darkness of Erica’s actions and the relationships between the teens. Unfortunately, several parts of the plot strain credulity too much and, in the end, “Flower” doesn’t come out smelling so sweet. However, Deutch does redeem herself quite well as Erica, and it’s easy to see that she’ll be an actress to watch for the next several years.
I give “Flower” a 5 out of 10.