Review: The Late Bloomer (2024)

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

Review: The Late Bloomer (1)

PLOT: A thirty-year-old sex therapist who’s never reached sexual maturity due to a benign brain tumor all of sudden experiences puberty – all at once.

REVIEW: Believe it or not, THE LATE BLOOMER is kinda, sorta based on a true story. While not a sex therapist, Ken Baker, a writer whose memoirs this is based on, actually did suffer from the same condition Johnny Simmons’s character has in the film. Just like him, when the tumor was removed, he all of a sudden experienced puberty – at the age of thirty! Sounds hilarious/awful, right?

Review: The Late Bloomer (2)

Marking the narrative feature directorial debut of the great Kevin Pollak, THE LATE BLOOMER turns Baker’s tragi-comic memoirs in an all-out zany raunch-fest, albeit one with a heart. While Baker’s own story is compelling enough that it could have made for an interesting film in its own right, Pollak’s silly film still manages to hit some interesting notes thanks to a talented cast and that great premise. I mean – could. You. Imagine.

Johnny Simmons, who’s rapidly turning into one of my favorite rising indie actors, does a good job conveying his character’s mix of emotions. As we start, he’s naïve and totally asexual, treating Charlotte McKinney’s sexpot patient with total disinterest, and before we even know what’s really wrong with him we watch as he’s totally oblivious to the cues of his romantically interested best-friend/neighbor (Brittany Snow) who’s stuck with a boorish boyfriend (Paul Wesley) and often cries on her successful, handsome neighbor’s shoulder.

Once his tumor is removed, the zany bit starts as he has his first ever erection, becomes hopelessly addicted to masturbation in a matter of days, and also begins sleeping with as many women as possible, catching up for all of his years of inactivity. He also has to deal with sudden bursts of testosterone, and all the aggression that goes with it. He’s guided through sexual maturity by his two best pals, ‘Silicon Valley’’s Kumail Nanjiani who steals every scene, and SNL’S Beck Bennett.

Review: The Late Bloomer (3)

While I think as less zany approach would have made THE LATE BLOOMER more than just a fun VOD rental, there are some nice moments well-staged by Pollak. Brittany Snow is intensely likable as Simmons’s love interest, who clearly had feelings for him early-on that he can’t quite comprehend. The best bits go to J.K Simmons (no relation to his on-screen son), who plays the macho dad, with him telling Maria Bello (as his wife) that he wishes his son would show interest in sex – be it gay or straight – just so he could make sense of him. The most authentic scene in their movie is their climatic heart-to-heart, where he finally comes to terms with his own shortcomings as a dad and the pressure his son must have felt to be “normal.”

In the end, THE LATE BLOOMER is above-average for VOD comedies, with Pollak’s involvement assuring a good cast and a good ear for what’s funny and what’s not. I still think it would have been better as a lower-key indie-style comedy rather than the zany-vibe it goes for, but for what it is it ain’t bad.

Review: The Late Bloomer (4)

Review: The Late Bloomer (5)

The Late Bloomer

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