(2018) (John Cena, Leslie Mann) (R)
- QUICK TAKE:
- Comedy: Three parents try to stop their daughters from losing their virginities on Prom Night.
- Julie (KATHRYN NEWTON), Kayla (GERALDINE VISWANATHAN), and Sam (GIDEON ADLON) have been best friends since kindergarten, and now it's their Prom Night. On that special evening, the trio makes a pact to lose their virginities to their prom dates. Julie has been dating the nice, good-looking Austin (GRAHAM PHILLIPS) for six months and feels it's time. Kayla just wants to cut loose with Connor (MILES ROBBINS), the school's free-spirited drug dealer. Sam, meanwhile, wants to just "get it over with" and decides to sleep with her date, nerdy Chad (JIMMY BELLINGER), even though she is a closet lesbian who has yet to come out to any family or friends and is in love with out-and-proud classmate Angelica (RAMONA YOUNG).
But when Julie's mother, Lisa (LESLIE MANN), gets wind of the girls' Prom Night agreement, she springs into action. She recruits Kayla's muscle-head, but extremely emotional dad, Mitchell (JOHN CENA), to track them throughout the night and try and stop the big moments from happening. Along for the ride is Hunter (IKE BARINHOLTZ), Sam's estranged dad who divorced her mother years earlier after cheating on her. He's blown back into town having paid for a limo and initially has no problem with his daughter being part of the pact … because he's the only one who suspects nothing will happen on account of her sexuality. He tries to stop Lisa and Mitchell, and the result definitely has comic effects.
Throughout the night, the three adults and teens come in contact with a host of quirky personalities. They range from a very determined limo driver named Rudy (COLTON DUNN) to Austin's sexually adventurous parents (GARY COLE and GINA GERSHON).
- OUR TAKE: 7 out of 10
- How much you will enjoy "Blockers" -- and it is a VERY enjoyable, albeit quite profane, sex comedy -- may depend on who you are and where you're at in life. If you are a teenager having gained admission to this, it may become one of the seminal films of your adolescence. It's about three high-school girls who make a pact to lose their virginities on Prom Night, and their parents' efforts to try and stop them after learning of the plan. If you are any age and you don't have kids and don't have to even think about such loss of innocence, you'll likely chuckle, laugh, and guffaw throughout at the broad humor and hijinks. But if you are a parent -- especially a dad or mom to a teenage girl -- this is gonna be a challenge even for the most progressive and permissive among us. And for some, this may be as scary as one of those "Conjuring" movies.
But the great thing about "Blockers" is the film is written, directed, and acted with a lot of heart and a lot of truth. Sure, the screenplay finds the time to give us a scene where John Cena has to get down on all fours and have beer poured directly into his rectum to prove that he's not a narc and can be admitted to an after-prom party where he thinks his daughter may be. But he does so out of complete love and concern for the girl.
What really distinguishes "Blockers" is not the broad humor that's easy to splice into trailers and commercials. It's the smaller, thoughtful moments when the three parents (Cena, Ian Barinhotz, and Leslie Mann) take pauses and question if they are really doing right by stopping what could be the inevitable, what could actually be something truly wonderful for each of their kids, and also wondering how effective their upbringing has been and getting these girls into positions in their lives where they have to make good decisions entirely on their own.
And in doing so, these scenes don't feel like schmaltz or false sentiment. More importantly, they do NOT block the fun that the viewer is having with the film. That's because by the time the more "serious," introspective scenes occur, we've come to know Mann, Cena, and Barinholtz's characters and they have each endeared themselves to the audience. Mann's Lisa is a single mom who has raised her only daughter since birth. Cena and his wife have preached fitness and put many of life's lessons in the form of sports stories and clichés. Barinholtz, meanwhile, is the divorced dad trying to be cool for her big night with a paid-for limo and no-pressure "Have fun!" well wishes. He also is the only one who realizes the girl is a lesbian, meaning the boy she is with likely has no chance of being her true first time.
I do wish the film made the teen characters as colorful and as outright funny as the parents. It's one of the few teen sex comedies where the teens angling for sex are the girls and not the guys. And that's notable, of course. But in Julie's room hangs a poster for "Sixteen Candles," and one could only wonder what John Hughes could have added to the teens' perspectives in their various sequences.
Fortunately, all concerned get by on likability. And director Kay Cannon, screenwriter of the "Pitch Perfect" movies, does a great job juggling a pretty big cast. I give "Blockers" a very solid and enthusiastic 7 out of 10. (T. Durgin)
Reviewed April 3, 2108 / Posted April 6, 2018
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