Was your prom night ever this crazy?
Lisa (Leslie Mann), Mitchell (John Cena), and Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) each have a teenage daughter, and the three girls have been best friends since grade school. Now, on their prom night, the girls make a pact to lose their virginity before the night is over. Not long after the girls depart in their limo with their dates, their parents happen upon their text messages regarding their pact. Alarmed and determined to protect their bundles of joy, the three follow the girls to keep them from engaging in sexual activity. As you might expect, hijinks ensue.
There is a double standard in media regarding first-time sex — it ’s remarkable and wonderful for men, but scandalous for women? Thankfully, not only does Blockers successfully poke fun at this double standard, but it manages to be a highly entertaining film as well. It is like how American Pie would have been like if helmed by Judd Apatow (the casting of Apatow’s wife, Leslie Mann makes the comparison more obvious.). Blockers is the directorial debut of Kay Cannon, who wrote all three screenplays in the Pitch Perfect series, and she has a decent enough knack for directing comedic banter.
However, much of the comedy in this film can be attributed to the actors playing the parents. As she does in Apatow’s comedies, Leslie Mann brings a sweet, yet overbearing energy to her overprotective character. I knew John Cena was going to be funny based on his work in Trainwreck as well as his voiceover work in last year’s Ferdinand. Ike Barinholtz, in my opinion, has an interesting career in terms of comedy. I have seen him flop in disasters like (ahem) Disaster Movie, then he did better in films like Snatched and the two Neighbors films. Now, as Hunter in Blockers, he seems to have put all of his comedic skills into a blender to turn out a consistently funny performance with some valid dramatic moments. Possibly one of the funniest moments in the film is the parents trying to decode the emojis their daughters are texting and Hunter just reads it like a professional.
There were also two other actors who I felt stood out considerably. One was Geraldine Viswanathan, as Mitchell’s daughter, Sam. Her wide-eyed reactions to what she sees, especially after chowing down on some “special cookies,” got some of the biggest laughs. The other was Colton Dunn, as the girls’ limo driver, whose mere presence was such a delight, that I wish they had given him a bit more screen time. Thankfully, though, there are plenty of other laughs to be had in this film, including a gag involving the parents of one of the boyfriends and what they engage in when the kids aren’t home.
In addition to being funny, the film is sweet and good-natured. There are some truly touching scenarios regarding reconnecting with your children and learning to let them go as they get older, and I was impressed with how well the film’s characters were realized. In any low-rent comedy, characters such as the girls’ prom dates, would have been portrayed as pure stereotypes. Here, though, each character is given their own personality, and the boys, as eager as they are, are shown to be just as wary of the main event as the ladies. It reminds the audience, in a way, that no one knows exactly what to do the first time, and how we try to make it as special as possible.
Blockers is a surprisingly thoughtful and funny look at growing up and letting go. Is it an instant classic? No, but then again, it does not need to be. It has enough belly laughs to keep it funny, and the story behind the gags is mature, yet sweet. Trust me when I say that you do not need protection going into this film.