BLOCKERS review by Mark Walters – Leslie Mann, John Cena and Ike Barinholtz say no to sex

BLOCKERS review by Mark Walters – Leslie Mann, John Cena and Ike Barinholtz say no to sex

Ah, to be a teen headed to prom. Some see it as a celebration of youth and school friendship, a chance to dance the night away and have the time of their lives… other just want to get laid, at least Hollywood seems to frequently push that concept. In BLOCKERS, a trio of girls who are best friends decide they’re going to have sex at their prom, forming a “sex pact” together, which becomes a major problem when their nosy parents accidentally see their texts being sent back and forth. Now the elders must go out of their way to protect their daughters, all while hilarity ensues.

The film opens some years back showing Lisa (Leslie Mann), Mitchell (John Cena) and Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) dropping their girls off at grade school, and witnessing them becoming instant best friends. This prompts the parents to say they too are now friends, but after cutting to the present we see that as their daughters are finishing high school, they as adult parents have drifted apart from each other. Lisa doesn’t answer Mitchell’s phone calls and attempts to hang out, and both avoid Hunter after his messy divorce and seemingly wild ways. Lisa’s daughter Julie (Kathryn Newton) has a somewhat serious boyfriend and wants to go to college at UCLA, which is far from home, but doesn’t want to tell her mom as it would damage their close relationship. Mitchell’s sports loving daughter Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan) is a confident athlete looking to let loose a bit. And Hunter’s daughter Sam (Gideon Adlon) is realizing she’s a lesbian and is worried it may not sit well with others. As the girls prepare for prom, they decide this is the occasion for them to lose their virginity, Julie because she wants to, Kayla because she feels she needs to, and Sam because she feels it’s the only way to stay close to her friends. When Lisa happens to see Julie’s phone text conversation which is mirrored on her open laptop at home, she alerts Mitchell and Hunter, and the trio decide they must stop this plan no matter what. What follows is a series of mishaps, including matching wits (and losing) to other partying teens, getting mixed up with the sexually promiscuous mother and father of Julie’s boyfriend, and a major car accident, all in a night of crazy pursuit.

BLOCKERS looks and feels (especially from the marketing) like some sort of crazy sex comedy with just the right amount of raunchy antics that will have adults and teens howling in their seats, and there is certainly some of that on display, but it’s wrapped up in a surprisingly sweet tale of parenting love and concern, and teenage self-awakening that never feels overdone or sappy. The first half is quite hilarious and fast-paced, providing many laughs and sometimes shocking moments that will keep you engaged. The second half gets a little more serious and at times emotional, while still providing some silly sight gags. If you’re the parent of a teen, this film is enough to make you never want them out on their own, mainly because of the wild partying scenes the parents have to wade through to find their daughters. It’s content done to seem over the top, but could easily be nightmare fuel for a concerned mom or dad. There’s something funny about how movies like AMERICAN PIE revel in comedic sexual antics with teens, but in a movie like this where you add the parents it seems a little bit more of a cautionary tale… while still being amusing.

One of the best things about the film is the casting, not just in Leslie Mann, John Cena and Ike Barinholtz, who have great chemistry and are all really fun in their respective roles, but also with the kids they’re pursuing. Kathryn Newton, Geraldine Viswanathan and Gideon Adlon are excellent as the potentially troublesome daughters, delivering dialogue smartly and really making their respective characters endearing and realistic. I don’t think I’ve seen any of them before (except maybe Newton), but after their performances in this movie I expect they’ll all three be getting more work and recognition, as they’re excellent here. The actors playing their dates don’t get as much to work with, save for Jimmy Bellinger who is quite funny playing Sam’s prom date, a fedora-wearing chubby kid who you can’t help but love. Gary Cole and Gina Gershon also have fun playing sex crazed parents our main three keep running into, baring it all for some rather outrageous moments.

BLOCKERS is helmed by Kay Cannon, her first feature film as director after writing and producing the PITCH PERFECT movies and 30 ROCK. She does a great job keeping the story flowing and fun, and the end result is quite charming once you get past some of the more raunchy humor… and it does get raunchy, featuring heavy puke jokes, beer bongs in the butt, and even some blatantly exposed male genitalia, but don’t let any of that scare you. There’s nothing drastically new in the realm of comedy here, but what is on display is done quite well, and should definitely leave you smiling once it’s over. BLOCKERS is one of those comedies that seems to know exactly what it is, and doesn’t feel like it’s trying to be anything more, yet somehow it ends up being a really pleasant surprise anyway.

BLOCKERS opens April 6, 2018

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About the Author

Born and raised in Dallas, Mark has been a movie critic since 1994, with reviews featured in print, radio and National TV. In 2001 he started the Entertainment section of the Herorealm website, where he contributed film reviews and celebrity interviews until 2004. After three years of service there, he started, which has become one of the Dallas film community's leading information websites. Bigfanboy hosts several movie screenings in the Texas area, and works closely with film and TV studios and promotional partners to host exciting events and contests. The site also features a variety of rare celebrity and filmmaker interviews, and regularly covers the film festival circuit as well. In addition to Hollywood reporting, Mark has worked for many years as an advertising and sci-fi/comic book artist. Clients have included Lucasfilm Ltd., Topps Trading Cards, The Dallas Mavericks and The Dallas Stars. From 2002 until 2015 he managed the Dallas Comic Con, Sci-Fi Expo and Fan Days events in the DFW area. He currently catalogs rare comic books and movie memorabilia for Heritage Auctions, and runs the Dallas Comic Show conventions, but remains an avid moviegoer and cinema buff.