Zoey Deutch triumphs in an otherwise disappointing dark comedy.
High school student Erica (Deutch) spends her days wrecking havoc with her best friends. Her somewhat stable home life with her mother Laurie (Kathryn Hahn, excellent) is about to be shaken up when Laurie’s new husband (Tim Heidecker) and his fresh out of rehab son Luke (Joey Morgan) move in. The rapport between Erica and her stepbrother is fraught and discomforting from the first time they meet. In a barely rationalized attempt to help Luke, Erica hatches a plan to destroy the life of Will (Adam Scott) a former teacher who Luke claims sexually assaulted him. There’s a sweetness to Flower that quickly evaporates as this revenge plot begins to unfold. Co-writer/director Max Winkler has created really interesting characters but doesn’t quite seem to know what to do with them. It all snowballs into a Bonnie and Clyde thing that is unearned and frankly unwelcome. Nevertheless, Deutch is doing some really great character work here. The actress is usually cast in the “nice girlfriend” role, so it’s exciting to see her working with a grittier character that allows her to show her range. Flower would definitely work a lot better as a character piece, but unfortunately the writers take a different route about halfway into the film. Regardless of the weak final act, Deutch’s performance is undeniably strong and almost makes the whole journey worthwhile.