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The Late Bloomer [2016]

The Late Bloomer [2016] is the narrative debut for director Kevin Pollak. The story follows Peter Newmans, a sex therapist who goes through puberty at an accelerated rate after having a small tumor removed. The film is based on the memoir Man Made: A Memoir of My Body, which chronicles the real-life experience of journalist Ken Baker and his struggle with Prolactinoma.

Is it 2006 or 2016? This film could have worked well if it were released in the early millennia with all those teen raunchy flicks we love and know so well. The Late Bloomer is dated, clinging on to tired clichés and archaic notions of how sex is and what it means in its correlation to masculinity. Apparently, sex is very important to being a man. This film hinges on the fact that if a man is asexual he must be either a sociopath, gay or a giant freakazoid. Once Peter’s condition is revealed, everyone rejoices. YAY! I’m not a freak! My friend isn’t a weirdo! My son is a normal human being! In the end, you can see the clear attempt to make this film warm-hearted, but the lowbrow script just comes across as insensitive in terms of sex and sexuality in 2016.

TESTOSTERONE! It took five guys to pen this script. You’d think if you got that many men together, they’d be able to contribute some new material about puberty and/or manhood. Instead, we got a cornball movie with predictable sex jokes and a contrived ending about what it means to truly be a man. Is this film a raunchy sex comedy or romantic comedy? These guys have no idea hence the awkward tonal shift. There isn’t enough charm or emotional resonance for the former and, frankly, not enough penetration for the latter. The one thing these guys did agree on was that it’s some type of comedy, but was this film even funny? Nah, not really. There were a few short laughs, but they mostly come in the form of one-liners from an underutilized supporting cast.

We Need to Talk About Kevin. It’d be interesting to see what Pollak could have done with better material since he himself is a comedic genius. The improvisational freedom he grants the actors may be what saved the film from being a total disaster since The Late Bloomer relies heavily on its dialogue for comedy. Pollack was able to capture genuinely funny moments simply by letting his cast feed off of one another. Overall, The Late Bloomer isn’t a terrible film, but it isn’t a very good one either.

A unique premise that was wasted on this 90-minute penis joke.

The Late Bloomer [2016]
2.0Overall Score
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