There’s probably an insightful movie about modern masculinity to be culled from hockey player and entertainment journalist Ken Baker’s memoir about how an otherwise benign tumor inhibiting his testosterone kept him from undergoing adolescence until he was 27. But Kevin Pollak’s sex farce The Late Bloomer isn’t it.
Thirty-year-old Peter Newmans (Johnny Simmons) is an asexual sex therapist famous for advising people not to have sex. His tumor is discovered and removed after he gets hit in the crotch while playing basketball. He then begins experiencing puberty in a big way, which both allows him to acknowledge his attraction to his next-door neighbor Michelle (Brittany Snow) and gets in the way due to the assholishness that’s part and parcel of being a teenage boy regardless of biological age.
Though Pollak’s direction in his first narrative feature is solid, The Late Bloomer is mostly an excuse for predictable sex jokes and ample toplessness. The majority of the laughs come from the terrific supporting cast, including Kumail Nanjiani as Peter’s best friend, plus J.K. Simmons (no relation) and Maria Bello as the kind of wacky parents perfected in Easy A.
And in case you’re lacking a degree in film theory, Peter is slang for penis, and he becomes a New Man. Comedy symbolism!
The Late Bloomer
Directed by Kevin Pollak
Opens October 7, Cinema Village
Available on demand
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 5, 2016