With Blockers you get a new R-rated comedy with multiple crude scenarios, several big laughs, six different character arcs, two parents really into sex games and maybe just a tad too many feel-good discussions between parents and their daughters. It’s not the kind of movie that earns major awards, but it can entertain audiences…even though it has one overwrought premise: parents determined to stop their daughters having sex. What year is this anyway? 1958?
The parents are Lisa (Leslie Mann), Mitchell (John Cena) and Hunter (Ike Barinholtz); the daughters are Julie (Kathryn Newton), Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan) and Sam (Gideon Adion). The girls, who have been friends since grade school, decide that prom night is the night they will lose their virginity. When Lisa and Mitchell learn of this, they’re determined to stop their daughters—each with their own reasons. Hunter gets dragged in on the fun. By the time the evening is through we’ll see the parents survive ridiculous adventures and the daughters face roadblocks to virginity-losing. There’s some smart talk from Mitchell’s wife (Sarayu Blue) about what’s wrong with young women becoming sexually active, but she’s ignored.
Directed by Kay Cannon, the screenwriter of the Pitch Perfect films, the movie works as a simple comedy. It gives time for some character development but allows too much time to pass between jokes. Most of the jokes require the parents to be humiliated in various settings, but sometimes it goes into full insane mode, and that’s when the comedy takes off. Whether it is the scenes where the parents meet Gary Cole and Gina Gershon as a couple into sex games, or a cape-wearing young woman that Sam--who isn’t sure that losing her virginity to a boy is the route she wants to take--finds attractive, there are moments of hilarity.
What shines in the movie is the actors. Leslie Mann is always a bright spot in a film. Barinholtz gets plenty of laughs as the screw-up of a father. Cena manages to make his uptight character bearable. As for the daughters, Viswanathan stands out as the one who knows how to take control. June Diane Raphael, Hannibal Buress and Miles Robbins also get good supporting moments.
The movie goes for heartfelt lessons for its six main characters, but it works in context. You can find at least one character to cheer on amidst the busy plot. Blockers offers laughs and ridiculous situations. Also, you discover old-fashioned ideas about female sexuality still exist.