Release Date(s)2018 (July 3, 2018)
Studio(s)Good Universe/DMG/Point Grey (Universal Pictures)
- Film/Program Grade: B
- Video Grade: A
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: B-
Blockers (Universal Home Entertainment) is an R-rated raunchy comedy with heart. When three parents (Leslie Mann, John Cena, Ike Barinholtz) discover their daughters’ pledge to lose their virginity at senior prom, they set out to stop the girls from achieving their goal. The jokes arise from the helicopter parents’ often awkward attempts to interfere in their kids’ lives in what they believe is their parental duty. They see their children as kids, rather than maturing adults and freak out at what to them is a disturbing reality – their kids want to have sex.
Lisa (Mann) has become a friend rather than a parent to her daughter, Julie (Kathryn Newton). She fails to understand that Julie needs time to find herself, achieve independence, and make the transition into adulthood without unneeded guidance. Cena is cast against his customary macho-man roles as stay-at-home husband Mitchell and father of Julie’s best friend Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan). The trio is rounded out by Hunter (Barinholtz), who’s alienated his friends and his own daughter, Sam (Gideon Adlon), by blowing his marriage. He manages to decipher the cryptic emoji messages on their kids’ text chain that sets the comic plot in motion.
Part of the fun of the movie is its role reversals. The kids act like adults while the parents act like adolescents. The movie is not merely a one-joke picture. It pokes fun at contemporary attitudes while portraying young women as savvy and thoughtful rather than as airheads, which has been an easy route for laughs in the past. In today’s social climate, comedies have to be smarter as well as funny. The script allows the three young women to emerge as real people, not merely joke bouncing boards. Blockers does a good job balancing gags with social commentary without preaching.
Lisa, Mitch, and Hunter run around the Chicago area like children, encountering obstacles that result in sometimes very embarrassing situations. And that’s where the raunch comes in. Ever since The Hangover proved that there is definitely a market for R-rated comedies, Hollywood has turned them out on a regular basis. Most depend on toilet humor and gags about bodily functions for laughs and don’t reach deeper. It takes too much time and care. Blockers, though no masterpiece, is an effective blend of humor and parent-child relationships that draws on the awkwardness of parents seeing their offspring not as kids but as adults.
Unrated bonus materials on the 2-disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack include deleted scenes, gag reel, feature commentary by director Kay Cannon, and 6 behind-the-scenes featurettes. A digital copy is enclosed.
- Dennis Seuling