The comedy about 3 parents who try to stop their kids from having sex on Prom Night is finally out! Here's what we think about 2018's next big comedy!
For over a decade or so, the daughters of Lisa (Leslie Mann), Mitchell (John Cena), and Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) have been friends. As time went by, the relationships between their parents may have changed, but for the daughters it’s gotten stronger than ever. With prom just around the corner, Julie (Kathryn Newton) decides she’s ready to lose her virginity to her long-time boyfriend after prom, forcing Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan) and Sam (Gideon Adlon) to get in on #SexPact2018. Once the parents find out, it’s up to the 3 of them to follow their kids from location to location in an effort to save their girls’ innocence.
From the clueless parents trying to decode their kids emojis to the lengths these parents go to get to their children, Blockers is easily one of the funniest films of 2018, so far. It’s chalk-full of amusingly ignorant parental moments mixed in with the dirty burned-in-your-mind situations that takes today’s comedy genre to a whole other level. It’s these outlandish, and sometimes raunchy, moments that had myself and the entire audience rolling with non-stop side-splitting laughter. There are several moments where it’s reminiscent of Judd Apatow’s Superbad.
That is, until you start to understand the overall message of the film. Blockers is more than just your average comedy. It’s a film that provides a lot of meaningful moments that address double-standards and female empowerment. That’s one of the things that I thought director Kay Cannon did a great job of with Blockers. Even though she had the arduous task of taking the parent’s search from place to place and keeping it funny, she was able to balance out the comedy with a meaningful story that allowed the audience to reflect on today’s double-standard about virginity.
Young Actresses Shine Amongst Comedic Peers
What makes the comedy really shine stems from a hilarious cast with well-timed deliveries and enough diversity to allow almost everyone to connect with the story. With the kids, Newton’s Julie represents all the young girls who believe they are in love and she’s determined to have her perfect moment. Adlon’s Sam is trying to find herself and become comfortable as a lesbian, in what can be a confusing time. In trying to become “not confused”, as she says, she’s willing to try anything to come to terms. Finally, Viswanathan’s Kayla may be the best of the bunch, as this actress brings most of the best moments of the film with her tomboy attitude. Unlike the other two, her main goal is to get messed up and have sex, causing a LOT of hilarity to ensue.
On the other side of the tracks, the performances by the parent’s chasing them are extremely well done. Leslie Mann plays Lisa, a single mom who isn’t ready for her only child to go away to college. The hilarious mom character is one that Mann has mastered with several roles, over the years, but with Blockers she’s able to really hone that in, as she doesn’t have the support that her previous films had.
Ike Barinholtz’s Hunter is a particularly interesting character because, while he’s the estranged Dad who isn’t in Sam’s life, he somehow becomes the straight man, during the film. He’s got some outlandish moments, sure, but for the most part he’s the voice of reason against the other two parents because he wants Sam’s night to be special. Furthermore, it’s his knowledge of youths that allows the parents to figure out everything that’s going on and where to go. Barinholtz shows a surprising amount of range in this one role and proves he’s becoming a top comedic actor.
Speaking of top comedic actors, John Cena has found his niche. Where Dwayne Johnson can sell action like it’s ice to an eskimo, Cena has become one of the funniest actors in Hollywood. His comedic timing has become flawless and his willingness to be put in precarious situations makes every performance a joy to watch, and Blockers is more of the same. He plays Mitchell, a square sports fanatic that happens to be the perfect father and husband. However, he’s ignorant to how youths think and act and tends to be goaded into a lot of interesting moments. Somehow with Mitchell, Cena is able to make vanilla incredibly flavorful.
Drama For Drama’s Sake
The biggest issue I found with Blockers is its weak attempt to create drama and a lack of closure to that drama toward the end. For instance, at the open Blockers introduces us to the parents and an awkward interaction between them that announced that they were friends. Fast forward about 10 years and suddenly that’s not the case. Ike Barinholtz’s reasoning was successfully developed, but the issues between Cena’s Mitchell and Mann’s Lisa weren’t.
Despite Mitchell’s numerous calls to reach out to Lisa to get together, as friends, Lisa continuously ignored him. The reasoning behind it becomes a climactic moment, but the reasoning didn’t provide a lot of context, making the conflict between them unnecessary. It felt as if they were making drama between them for drama’s sake when it wasn’t needed. If anything, if I didn’t know that Cena’s character was a devoted husband, I would’ve thought there was something scandalous between the two of them.
Another strange direction in the writing stemmed from a pivotal moment between Lisa and her daughter Julie. Midway through the film, Lisa finally gets a hold of Julie and proceeds to scold her daughter. Julie ends up talking back and saying that she’s hellbent on getting as far away from her mom as possible, which as suggested earlier is a low blow. What makes this strange is that that’s the last interaction between the two of them that we see for the rest of the evening and it’s never discussed or addressed by the end of the film. Instead, everything is all hunky dorey. I’m not saying that I needed to deeply go into that, but a resolution for a pretty impactful moment was needed.
Female Empowerment is in Full Force
Outside the uproarious comedy, what I really loved about Blockers was that it really highlighted the female characters and truly empowered them. The whole idea behind wanting to (cock)block their kids was for them to maintain their innocence, but all 3 of these girls were strong and confident enough in themselves to make their own decisions.
After I saw this movie, I read that Blockers was 6 years in the making and that they didn't think they would've been able to highlight the women as much, back in 2012. Frankly, I'd have to agree. Blockers is the perfect film for 2018. None of these girls were damsels in distress, so the film became more about the parents acceptance that their children were growing up. For me, that was the best twist of this movie. I fully expected that I was going to go in and ridicule this movie for not being with the times. Instead, I walked out pleasantly surprised, because this film covered all of its bases, and for that it should be commended.