Blockers is a comedy following a trio of parents who find out their children are looking to lose their virginity during their prom night. Comedy ensues!
Blockers stars Leslie Mann, John Cena, and Ike Barinholtz and is directed by Kay Cannon. Many may know Cannon from her work writing the Pitch Perfect trilogy. She’s given her first directorial credit here and she doesn’t waste the opportunity to tell a story we’ve all seen before but with a new and in my opinion compelling twist.
Mann, Cena, and Barinholtz are given a great material to work with, in particular, Cena and Barinholtz who have several key scenes that bring a lot of laughs and in Barinholtz’s case a genuine heartfelt subplot with his respective child. If there are any issues with these three it falls to Leslie Mann who is playing the same character she’s been playing for the last several roles she has had. She’s neurotic, thinks she has all the answers even though she doesn’t and she pushes her opinions on the other characters. The film does address this issue nicely in a great scene between Sarayu Blue and Leslie Mann where Mann’s character Lisa is called out on her crap by Marcie (Blue) because Lisa doesn’t seem to respect the decisions of her daughter. It’s a genuine moment that a lot of films about parents and their growing children don’t seem to address.
On the topic of the daughters, the three young actresses, Kathryn Newton, Gideon Adlyon, and Geraldine Viswanathan all shine in this film. Sam (Adlyon), Julie (Newton), and Kayla (Viswanathan) have a wonderful chemistry. It’s well earned, feels genuine and they have a dynamic that will remind you of your relationship with your best friends. What is so commendable about Blockers and the cast is how relatable everyone is, especially the teens. The three actresses could have easily been cardboard cutout characters with no personality whatsoever and just let the film be taken over by the bigger stars but that’s not the case here. Each girl has a clear journey in the film, some are better fleshed out than others, Sam was a particular favourite of mine. Her journey through the film is fascinating to watch especially as you learn about her strained relationship with her father Hunter (Barinholtz) and their resolution at the end of the film is wonderfully heartfelt. Viswanathan’s character Kayla is exactly what you’d imagine a girl raised by John Cena would be like. She’s boisterous, a tomboy and is charming as hell a real chip off the enormous block that is John Cena who is the butt of a lot of jokes in this film (the butt line will make you giggle if you read this review after seeing Blockers). The least interesting is Julie unfortunately who felt to me as the jump-off point for the whole premise and nothing more. With the two other characters defying stereotypes Julie felt like the safest character in a film that defied a lot of expectations.
Though the film is well directed and the characters shine throughout the comedy doesn’t always live up to its fullest potential. And it does cater to the lowest common denominator once or twice with a particular vomit scene within a limo coming across as poorly placed rather than comedy gold. There is also no expertise when it comes to the cinematography or score, it’s mainly current pop songs which is to be expected in a film about this generation. As I said previously the cinematography is nothing that stands out but there’s nothing wrong with it so ultimately it’s a non-entity in the film as a whole.
Though the comedy doesn’t always hit home, and it’s a story that everyone has seen done again and again the strength of the characters and their journey means Blockers won’t stop you from having a good time at the cinema.