Movie Review – Blockers
The key flaw with the film is that the ending is obvious and predictable from the start of the premise. That premise is three parents of three girls who are best friends discover the three girls are planning to lose their virginity on prom night and the parents decide to stop them. Obviously, the parents are wrong for deciding this. It’s not as if their daughters are stupid or all that vulnerable. It’s also not as if the boys with whom they want to have sex are horrible or jerks. The boys are good boys, so it’s obvious and predictable that the parents will have to learn that they’re wrong and that they should be more trusting and respectful of their daughters, as well as learn to let go. Because it’s so obvious and predictable, it makes every beat of the movie a slog or a drag to get through.
I’m sure the filmmakers wanted that obviousness and predictability because that’s what makes the parents comical. That’s the joke of their characters. That’s part of what makes them funny, except it’s not. It’s not funny because there’s no way to side with them. Maybe, if their daughters were flawed in some way or more vulnerable, or maybe if the boys were jerks, then we could go along with the parents. Yet, there’s nothing to connect us with the parents. They’re simply idiotic and overly neurotic.
The screenwriters, Brian Kehoe and Jim Kehoe try to subvert that somewhat. Actually, one of the parents is not fully on board with wanting to stop their daughters from having sex. He actually tries to stop the other two parents. Eventually, he goes along too and loses whatever credibility he had. For a few moments, he was the voice of reason and made some sense. Yet, in order to extend the movie’s run-time, he has to abandon his reason and his progressive point of view.
Leslie Mann (The Other Woman and This is 40) stars as Lisa, a single mom who’s devoted her life to her daughter, so much so that she’s not dealing with her impending empty nest very well. We don’t see her interacting with female friends or family members her own age. We don’t know if she has parents, siblings, aunts, uncles or cousins. She’s just clingy to her daughter. At least, she acknowledges her own pathetic nature.
John Cena (Sisters and Trainwreck) also stars as Mitchell. He’s married to a woman of India heritage. He has a teenage daughter and also a young baby. His wife is into real estate or interior design from what we gather from a brief moment of her on the phone. We get no clue what Mitchell does for work. It doesn’t matter, but it does underscore how one-dimensional he is, as he’s just the cliché dad who doesn’t want his daughter to have sex. His objection seems to be superficial. He doesn’t like that his daughter’s boyfriend has long hair in a man-bun. Maybe if he objected for religious reasons or if he objected because he thought the boyfriend was a drug-dealer, then that would be something, but that isn’t the case.
Ike Barinholtz (Sisters and Neighbors) co-stars as Hunter. He maybe says what he does for work, but I missed it. He’s divorced after some infidelity. His ex-wife married a black guy named Frank, played by Hannibal Buress. Hunter’s daughter is being raised by Frank, her stepdad, and Hunter doesn’t spend as much time with his daughter as he wants or should. Of the three, Hunter doesn’t want to interrupt his daughter’s deflowering. He changes his mind when he reveals knowing his daughter is gay but her prom date is a guy.
Of the three parents, Hunter is the only one with some semblance of reason. He doesn’t want his lesbian daughter to feel like she can’t be who she is and that she has to fit in by having sex with a boy. Therefore, Hunter’s motivation makes more sense. After a point, for him to go along with all this lost his credibility. It’s also odd that at no point he reveals how he knows his daughter is gay and maybe not bisexual. While it’s appreciated that a parent would stick up for his daughter’s homosexuality, it’s still gross that he would try to interfere directly with her sex life.
The other issue is that all three daughters are seniors in high school about to go to college. The assumption that all three are still virgins is something that is never addressed. Many girls have had sex long before their 18th birthday or long before their high-school graduation. These girls did but get no credit for it from their parents. Lisa thinks her daughter will ruin her life by following a boy or maybe get pregnant too young like she did. Mitchell doesn’t think that, he just doesn’t want his daughter having sex with no logic at all to it.
Lisa’s daughter is Julie, played by Kathryn Newton (Big Little Lies and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri). Mitchell’s daughter is Kayla, played by Geraldine Viswanatha, and Hunter’s daughter is Sam, played by Gideon Adlon. I almost wish the movie had been only about Julie, Kayla and Sam, making this akin to Can’t Hardly Wait (1998), American Pie (1999) or even Superbad (2007) but more from a female perspective or point-of-view. Because the parents are more the stars here, we get a watered-down version of a teen sex comedy.
All of the comedy set-pieces involve the parents. The teens do get one comedy set-piece involving vomit but it’s so terribly lame. There’s two major set-pieces that’s supposed to be where the laughs gather. One involves a beer-chugging scene and the other is blindfolded nudity. The beer-chugging or alcohol enema scene leads to an obvious gross-out moment that feels out of place. The blindfolded nudity is so contrived if only to give us full-frontal, male nudity, which feels like a distraction and not integral, especially since it involves nudity among the adults when it’s the teen girls who question male nudity and how attractive the genitalia is supposed to look.
I’m not arguing that the teens should have been nude. I’m just arguing the pointlessness of the nudity among the adults. Male nudity can be well-utilized as it was in the recent Game Over, Man! on Netflix or the hit film Girls Trip (2017). It was almost purposeful in those two movies. Here, it feels truly there just for shock value and nothing else.
Rated R for crude and sexual content, language, drugs, teens partying and graphic nudity.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 42 mins.