Director: Kevin Pollak
Running Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Peter Newmans (Johnny Simmons) is a man in his 30's who never went through puberty due to a benign tumor on his pituitary gland. After having it removed, he goes through all the stages of puberty in just a few weeks.
"The Late Bloomer" is directed by Kevin Pollak and is very loosely based on the book "Man Made: A Memoir of My Body," detailing the true life story of Ken Baker. It stars Johnny Simmons as Peter Newmans, the character based on Ken Baker, a man who has made a career out of trying to teach people to re-channel their sexual energy into more productive ventures. Peter has done a lot in his life and has become fairly successful at a relatively young age. He attributes his success to being able to do more by being more productive since he is not having sex, masturbating, or anything related to those two things. Of course, it's easy for him since he has no sexual drive as he is essentially the equivalent of a pre-pubescent boy trapped inside a grown man's body. This is due to a benign tumor on his pituitary gland, which is the size of a chestnut. Once it is discovered and removed, Peter's hormones start to balance out and kick into gear as he goes through puberty in the span of a few short weeks. Now that he actually has a sex drive, he discovers how truly difficult it is to re-channel that energy into something besides sex-related activities.
This is a pretty straightforward romantic sex comedy in the same vein of "Zack and Miri Make A Porno," "The 40 Year Old Virgin," or any of the hundreds of other related films out there. This film has a very, very strong supporting cast including Academy Award winner J.K. Simmons and Golden Globe nominee Maria Bello, who play Peter's parents James and Brenda Newmans, Jane Lynch, who plays Peter's boss Caroline, Kumail Nanjiani, who plays one of Peter's best friends Rich, Brittany Snow, who plays Peter's romantic interest Michelle, and Beck Bennett, who we aren't familiar with but is a riot as Peter's other best friend, the dim-witted Luke. This supporting cast does a great job and the vast majority of the laughs come from them, especially when Nanjiani and Bennett are involved. All of these characters are more funny than Peter. Change anyone out for Johnny Simmons and almost everyone would have been a better fit. There are many jokes that flat out miss their intended mark. Being a sex comedy, there is a lot of talk about bodily humor and genitalia, so stay away if that's not your bag. J.K. Simmons also has a few moments where he is able to bring some genuine heart into this otherwise silly and expected sex comedy, but that's the power of an Oscar winner for you. The look of the film itself in terms of the way it's shot almost makes it have a TV sitcom sort of feel rather than a feature film. This may be due to how brightly lit the film is, and while it's not a big deal, it's worth mentioning. There isn't a lot of visual nuance here as it is very much a frame and shoot type of picture.
Overall, though we did laugh quite a bit at "The Late Bloomer," it was almost never at the lead character himself and was almost always at something or someone in the background ensemble cast. There are a lot of jokes that are flat out unfunny here, even with a few big zingers. This may have fared better many years ago as was the original intention before Hollywood got involved and shelved it for several years.
My Rating: 5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 13%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.