Review: Blockers

 

Kay Cannon makes her directorial debut with the r- rated comedy Blockers, the story of three parents trying to stop their daughters from losing their virginity on prom night.

John Cena plays Mitchell, the overly protective (and overly emotional) dad of Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan). Leslie Mann is Lisa, the helicopter mom of Julie (Kathryn Newton). Ike Barinholtz finishes out the trio as Hunter, the estranged father of Sam (Gideon Adlon).

After the kids are sent off to prom, the parents discover their daughters made a sex pact and plan to have sex on prom night. The parents set out to ambush their daughters before they have the opportunity to have sex.

Straight from the R-Rated Comedy Handbook – the parent’s quest to find their daughters doesn’t go as planned and hi-jinx ensue at every turn.

Blockers is a well balanced comedy with well written jokes and timely gags. The plot spends almost equal time with the parents and the young kids. While the parents are put in strange predicaments and are often the butt of the joke (literally for Mitchell), the kids are the heart and soul of the story.

Kayla has a very universal story of a girl trying to learn things on her own. Julie is a young woman in love with her high school boyfriend and having anxiety about telling her mom her future plans. Sam is repairing her relationship with her father while coming to grips with the fact that she’s a lesbian.

Sandwiched between drug usage,  nudity, sex jokes, and crude humor is a story about the panic parents have when their kids grow up and kids making decisions about who they are and the people they want to be. Neither group is painted as right nor wrong, the story uses humor to explore the emotional transitions both parties go through.

For fans of movies like American Pie will find this type of humor entertaining. From the beer chugging scene to the sex game the parents stumble into, the film uses it’s hard r-rating to hit audiences with a barrage of dirty jokes – and the jokes work. There are variations of tropes moviegoers have seen since Fast Times at Ridgemont High, yet they work very well with a skilled comedic trio of parents and a funny group of young actors. The casts threw themselves into the material, no matter how absurd the scene was.

The best sequence involves the parents tailing their kids to a Project X style prom after party. Everything that happens at the party is funny even if Stevie Wonder could see the jokes coming a mile away. That’s the real strength of Blockers – the ability to make old jokes and tropes feel fresh, even if you’ve seen them 100 times.

It may be all the reps in the WWE that gave John Cena such great comedic timing. He’s a natural in this role. Cena’s onscreen charisma and ability to be self-deprecating may be the thing that keeps in on the big screen for a very long time.

Blockers is a familiar comedy that delivers consistent laughs throughout. Underneath the laughs is a film that promotes a progressive attitude towards sex and sex conversations between parents and kids – it  does all of that without sacrificing any of the laugh-out-loud moments.

Grade: B

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