Thursday, May 3, 2018

Review of BLOCKERS: Parental Predicaments

May 2, 2018



One of the foremost fears of parents of teenage girls is that their little princesses will, God forbid, lose their innocence and virtue earlier than they should. This new film takes this natural fear and blows it up to absurd comic proportions to get the point across. While the fear is definitely universal, whether they will like the raunchy treatment of this film of that fear is another matter altogether. 

Julie (Kathryn Newton), Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan) and Sam (Gideon Adlon) had been close friends since their childhood. They are now young ladies about to go on their prom night. Julie intimated to her friends that she is seriously planning to lose her virginity to her boyfriend Austin on prom night. Kayla and Sam felt they also needed to join the pact for the sake of their friendship. 

After the girls left for the prom on their limo, Julie's mom Lisa (Leslie Mann), Kayla's dad Mitchell (John Cena) and Sam's dad Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) learned of their daughters' pact by intercepting their texts and interpreting those emojis. The three parents panicked and went through hell and high water to track down the location of their daughters in order to block their sex pact by hook or by crook. 

Kay Cannon is better known as the screenplay writer of the three "Pitch Perfect" films. She did not write "Blockers," but this is her directorial debut. Cannon took on this film's focus on teenage girls and used it to deliver a positive feminine message. Amidst all the raunchy jokes that writers Brian and Jim Kehoe packed into the script, there was actually an effort to state a balanced statement about parenthood. 

Despite his action star demeanor, John Cena is so no afraid to make fun of himself, finding his character Mitchell into the most awkward scenes of paranoia. Ike Barinholtz's Hunter had a more liberal outlook about prom night than his co-parents, though he had other reasons for finding Sam. Leslie Mann's Lisa was very concerned about Julie getting more distant from her, especially with college around the corner, and now this secret pact. Of the three girls, Geraldine Viswanathan stood out for her confidently secure portrayal of Kayla. 

The film never becomes preachy even if the stupid sex comedy gags sort of petered out towards the end in favor of more sensible parent-child conversations. As a parents of teenagers myself, I squirmed during the kids' crazy scenes of sex, booze and drugs, while identifying with the parents' dilemmas. Should the kids be protected, or should they be allowed to decide responsibly for themselves? There were hilarious moments for sure, but appreciation of these jokes will largely be a question of personal taste. 5/10. 


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