30th March 2018 (UK) 6th April 2018 (US)
Three parents try to stop their daughters from having sex on Prom night.
Leslie Mann, Kathryn Newton, John Cena
The late 90’s and early 00’s were a glorious time for raunchy teen comedies. From the likes of American Pie, Road Trip and Harold and Kumar Get the Munchies, at one point there seemed to be an endless stream of frat boys and girls having the time of their lives. But all parties must come to an end, and by the turn of the decade the debauchery had been relegated to straight to DVD, sub-par ‘*Insert Franchise Here* Presents’ releases. The final nail in the coffin seemed to come in 2012 with American Reunion, which saw the majority of the cast from the original three films re-unite for a high school gathering thirteen years after the first slice of Pie and confirmed that age waits for no man.
Skip forward six years and while the aforementioned films still hold a dear place in the hearts of many in their late 20’s, it’s safe to say they’re rather outdated by now. There’s still some laughs to be had in re-watching a pair of stoner friends undertake a quest to get a burger, but they’re very much a product of their time. Enter Blockers, a comedy which finds the perfect balance between the raunchy comedies of your youth while containing mature lead characters who could easily be you in a few years time – or even now.
The film follows three parents as they secretly try to stop their daughters from going through with #SexPact on Prom Night. Wrestler turned actor John Cena is the overprotective, Jorts-wearing, sports-loving Mitchell and father to Kayla, Leslie Mann plays Lisa who can’t let her daughter Julie out of her sight and Ike Barinholtz is Hunter, the dad of Sam, who can’t seem to let his youth go and lives like he’s still his daughters age. Together, the meddlesome trio follow their children from party to party and find themselves in a variety of embarrassing scenarios themselves as they strive to stop their girls from losing their virginity.
There’s not a whole lot going on plot wise with Blockers; it’s very much a rinse and repeat affair of the parents going to a party or occasion where their daughters are, getting mixed up in a comedic situation before moving on to the next location and learning something new about either themselves or their offspring. It never gets too crude or gross-out, but there’s enough cringe-worthy moments to leave more of a consistent smile on your face rather than all-out belly laughs.
Blockers succeeds largely thanks to its three leads, especially Cena. Anyone who’s seen him deliver a wrestling promo (that’s the talking bit, not the fighting bit) will know he’s always been gifted with a talent for comedy. In his early days, when he was using a rapper gimmick and calling himself the ‘Doctor of Thuganomics’, he’d regularly spit a few bitingly insulting bars about his opponent and they were always hilarious. He’s given even more room to flex his comedic muscles here and his timing and delivery of gags are as sharp as ever, making him the absolute show-stealer.
That doesn’t take anything away from the other two, though. Leslie Mann is wonderful as the smothering mother who requires her child to check in every five minutes while Ike Barinholtz, who I’m positive is a long lost Wahlberg, is the fun-loving father who is a complete embarrassment to their child that everybody hopes they don’t end up being.
The children themselves perform admirably enough, and Sam’s story arc is a nice touch, but it’s the titular Blockers who enable this one to shine. The situations they find themselves in aren’t particularly original (an updated version of a beer chugging competition does garner a few laughs) but everyone involved clearly seems to be having a great time, resulting in that feeling being passed on to the audience.
Blockers is a surprisingly mature comedy with undoubtedly immature scenarios. It’s a film about the perils of parenting and how adults are just as clueless as their children. While its final messages of acceptance can be seen from the beginning, the journey is earnest enough to give it a pass.
John Cena's comedic talents and timing
Strong all-round cast and characters
Brings a consistent smile and the occasional laugh
Plot is stretched out too much resulting in a rinse/repeat cycle of events