BLOCKERS Review: 6 out of 10 (Parents Hate Sex. That's Funny, Right?)
BLOCKERS is the newest in the “adults behaving badly” model of R-rated comedies that have grown in popularity in the past few years. Seems the AMERICAN PIE generation are all in their 30s and 40s now and are looking for more of these types of films. GAME NIGHT earlier this year was a pretty big hit and this reviewer liked it quite a bit. Can BLOCKERS continue the trend?
Not really. That isn’t to say BLOCKERS isn’t funny enough. It is. Just. There are places where the film has some funny situations—most of it with scatological humor and physical pratfalls—but the film wavers far too much into trying to take itself too seriously in a plot scenario that has a fairly ridiculous premise. And though ridiculous premise = goofy humor, the film swings wildly from tone to tone and never really seems to find its groove.
The film is directed by Kay Cannon (in her directorial debut) who wrote the PITCH PERFECT trilogy. The film stars Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz, and John Cena as a trio of parents who try to stop their daughters (Kathryn Newton, Geraldine Viswanathan, and Gideon Adlon) from losing their virginities on prom night. Seems their daughters have made a pact together to lose their virginity. How these parents come to know this and, inevitably, follow their daughters around is probably the biggest leap the movie makes. Having said that, the film does navigate quite a few ideas about female sexuality and equality, but most of that is done in brief mini-lectures and sermonizing that feels terribly out of place with scenes of beer butt-chugging, hotel raids, mini-van racing, and puke marathons. Most of the film’s funniest scenes were packed in with the marketing campaign and the red-band trailer, leaving only Leslie Mann and Ike Barinholtz to do the heavy lifting with the comedy here. Mann plays a single mom and Barinholtz the distant divorce dad—both of which create characters that have some funny scenes and dialogue. Both of which are also veterans. Pro wrestler and new Hollywood property John Cena still seems to have a way to go, however. Relying nearly completely on physical comedy his acting seems closer akin to the SNL stage than a film as he seems to be always on the edge of breaking character. Also, as the married man in the plot, it is an odd scenario that he leaves his wife at home while they go galavanting through the neighborhood in search of their daughters. Being that she is also the adult who protests their quest to stop the girls’ sexual exploration, the movie doesn’t seem to create a very plausible dynamic among the adults. The three young actresses playing the daughters here are fine, and the movie wisely navigates back and forth between the girls and their night and the parents and their chase.
BLOCKERS is a forgettable comedy with a few funny scenes and just as many that feel tonally off. But if your bar is low, there might be enough laughs here to sustain those looking for a grin or two. I admire the film for its attempt at having an enlightened feminist voice….it was just hard to hear it for all the jokes that seem to belie that same principle.