Rebellious, quick-witted Erica Vandross is a 17-year-old firecracker living with her single mom, Laurie, and her mom’s new boyfriend, Bob, in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley. When Bob’s mentally unbalanced son, Luke, arrives from rehab to live with the family, Erica finds her domestic and personal life overwhelmed. With Luke and her sidekicks Kala and Claudine in tow, Erica acts out by exposing a high school teacher’s dark secret.
Flower stars Zoey Deutch as Erica, the carefree spunky teenager. Deutch is becoming a familiar face in the realm of quirky indie dramedies. Here she injects a jolt of energy into the film with her quippy attitude that often gets her in trouble. Joey Morgan plays Luke, the soon to be stepbrother who has just left rehab. Morgan and Deutch play off each other well as their characters build a bond between one another. Kathryn Hahn plays Erica’s mom Laurie, who shares many similarities to her daughter. Tim Heidecker plays the uptight father of Luke who is always trying to fit in. Adam Scott plays the high school teacher with a shady past that Erica and Luke try to expose.
The first half of Flower is charming as Erica and Luke get to know each other. They each have imperfections but that’s what helps them to break the ice with one another. At about the midway point the film loses its identity and becomes a full on drama which can be jarring and off-putting to the viewer. There are decisions made by characters that seem improbable and ask for the viewers to suspend disbelief. Up until that moment the leads are likeable characters that audiences could relate to. It’s tough to root for the leads after head scratching decisions are made in the final act.
Zoey Deutch is always a delight in these offbeat roles and has a great ensemble to work with. Flower has moments of fun but is bogged down by the inconsistent third act that veers off the road, into a ditch. What is once a poignant story with a unique relationship turns into a mean spirited affair fueled by questionable character decisions. There’s still enough in Flower worth watching but you’re left wishing for an alternate ending that goes down a similar road as the first half of the film.