UNIVERSAL PICTURES (2018)

 

Director: Kay Cannon

 

Starring: Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz, John Cena, Kathryn Newton, Geraldine Viswanathan, Gideon Adlon

Ah, the teen comedy about sex and uneasy parents. Every year brings another comedy that follows a similar direction and the mixed bag is starting to get full. In her directorial debut, Kay Cannon throws her hat into the ring with Blockers – assembling Leslie Mann, John Cena and Ike Barinholtz as the parents who become every teen’s nightmares…

 

Cock blockers.

It’s the night of prom – the biggest night in any teen’s young life and BFF’s Julie (Newton), Kayla (Viswanathan) and Sam (Adlon) have all agreed on one thing – they’re all having sex tonight. What they hadn’t bargained for was their parents finding out about their pounding pact and are hell-bent on preventing it. That’s the premise of the movie and it doesn’t deviate from it.

 

A comedy that isn’t all that funny, Blockers succeeds mostly thanks to the comfy chemistry between its three leads and the surprisingly decent message running through the movie which pays off nicely by the end of it. That’s not to say the movie doesn’t have its moments – there are scenes that’ll have you tittering away and the standard gross-out moment as well – but there is a lack of laugh-out-loud moments that becomes apparent as the movie rolls on. There’s enough here to keep you entertained and, in fact, the movie is better than I had anticipated, just don’t expect to be rolling around in stitches.

 

Leslie Mann shares a nice bond with her on-screen daughter Kathryn Newton and is afforded the most-rounded ‘arc’ of all of the characters, and Barinholtz grows into his character after beginning as slightly exasperating. John Cena continues with his Dwayne Johnson-esque path and is affable and solid here – it’s his character that elicits the most laughs. It’s the three teens who steal the movie with their decisions and values being challenged during the movie, and all three perform admirably.

 

Blockers turns the messages of sex and parenting worries on its head, which is nice. The parents have themselves questioned by the kids routinely, getting called out for the exact behaviour they try to diffuse. The natural sexual evolution that humans face is seen as bad and negative by the parents here, and, in fact, the teens are savvier to it and appear to be more ‘progressive’ in their thinking. Being overprotective is fine, but eventually, there comes a time to let people surf the wave alone.

That said, I am a father of a daughter and will also be John Cena-like in my protection! (This…this is a joke, everyone)

 

Where the movie fails is in its attempts to constantly up the ante with its antics. The high-jinx all get a bit OTT and less authentic as things start to wrap up, which is at odds with the softer moments that cuddle in between each of these scenes. Tonally, the balance isn’t particularly great and it only becomes more apparent with each occurrence.

 

Blockers is a great movie to check out with some pizza and drink of choice on a chilled out Saturday evening. A pleasing message delivered in a modern way cosies up with some fun moments – there just aren’t enough of them in this comedy. The tonal indifferences prevent this from being top notch, but it’s still very enjoyable.

April 28th 2018

© 2016 Matt Hudson / What I Watched Tonight / Essex

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