Blockers Movie Review
To cock block a friend is bad enough. To cock block your teenagers… well, isn’t that a right of parentage? In Blockers, three desperate parents attempt to keep their 18-year-old daughters from going through with a sex pact on prom night, and in the process they attempt to entertain us for two hours, sometimes succeeding, always desperately.
Blockers isn’t a bad movie, but it’s the type of comedy you watch for half an hour, waiting for it to get funnier, and then succumb to the fact that nope, this is as good as it gets. While it has a few laugh-out-loud stretches and some other jokes that elicit a chuckle, Blockers is simply a mediocre comedy—it’s never flat or dull or painful, but it’s rarely, consistently great, let alone consistently funny.
The movie stars Leslie Mann, who is a great comedic actress given the right material (emphasis on the right material), and John Cena, who has over the last few years mastered the funny tough guy routine. Comedies usually pitch themselves on the talent on camera, but what makes or breaks a comedy is usually who is lurking just off screen. And frankly, while director Kay Cannon (writer of Pitch Perfect 2 and 3) and screenwriters Jim and Brian Kehoe (first timers, really) do an adequate job, they fall short of giving us anything more than a passable teen comedy that can easily wait until home video, if that.
Blockers simply isn’t good enough.
The movie is an R-rated romp and two of its better sequences are outlandish ones—which involve chugging beer up the asshole and a blindfolded sex game, respectively. But in between, Mann, Cena and Ike Barinholtz do a lot of anxious talking, their frenetic dialogue somewhat amusing but not nearly as funny as the filmmakers or actors intended.
Despite the R-rated shenanigans, what arguably works best about the movie is its somewhat on-the-nose message about the double standards for teenage girls (“why is it OK for teenage boys to get laid, but not for girls?”) and why parents, at some point, need to have faith in their children. The problem is—it’s a good message, but it doesn’t make the movie any funnier.
Oddly, while Blockers attempts to put a spin on the “sex on prom night” story by focusing on the parents, the scenes with the teenagers—played by Kathryn Newton, Geraldine Viswanathan and Gideon Adlon—are better than those with the parents. Maybe it’s because the younger characters aren’t running around like frantic idiots as much, but their scenes feel more sincere, organic and interesting. Viswanathan stands out among the rest.
On a side note, Blockers misses the mark in playing up Jimmy Bellinger, who has a small role as Chad, the prom date to the closeted lesbian of the group. With a few tweaks, his character could have been hilarious and utilized to much greater effect.
The same could be said about the movie itself. It’s amusing, sometimes funny, but never hilarious—and at least never consistently so. You can tell everyone is trying, though, and with a few tweaks here and there Blockers could have been significantly better. That’s the shame of it all—it sort of cock blocks itself.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.