When I watched the trailers for Blockers, all I could think was how funny it looked. Parents on a train wreck collision with their daughter’s prom night that promised hijinks from both the parents and the daughters. While the movie truly delivered on the laughs, we got more than we bargained for with an exploration of teen sexuality, divorce and the relationships between parents and their children. This film straddled the line between heartwarming and outrageously funny.
The premise of the movie is simple enough. The parents, Lisa Decker (Leslie Mann), Mitchell (John Cena) and Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) meet when their three daughters, Julie, Kayla, and Sam, bond on the first day of kindergarten. Now, the girls are high school seniors and getting ready for their senior prom. Julie Decker (Kathryn Newton) decides the night is perfect to finally have sex with her boyfriend, Austin (Graham Phillips). Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan) decides she’ll get rid of her pesky virginity the same night with her lab partner, Connor (Miles Robbins) and her decision convinces Sam (Gideon Adlon) to do the same with her boyfriend Chad (Jimmy Bellinger). Unfortunately things don’t work as planned for the girls.
First, Sam’s dad, Hunter, shows up with a limo but you quickly find out he’s estranged from his daughter due to the divorce and his lack of involvement. We also see signs that Sam may prefer another girl at her school and is using the pact to figure out her sexuality. Then Lisa discovers her daughter’s laptop open as she’s cleaning up from the party. Along with Mitchell and Hunter, they realize what the girls are planning. The three parents decide they are going to stop the girl’s from having sex, all for different reasons. Lisa is having trouble with the idea that Julie is growing up and wants to go to UCLA. Mitchell is struggling not being little anymore and Hunter has figured out his daughter is gay. He doesn’t want her to feel pressured to sleep with a guy just to go along with the other girls. He’s also wanting to connect with his daughter again. While all three have their reasons, none of the night goes as planned as they try to track down their daughters and figure out whether to block the girl’s fun night or learn that their daughters are old enough to make the right choices.
While the plot is simple, the humor is is executed almost perfectly. The entire audience was laughing so loud at points that dialogue was missed. The antics of the parents were believable but also hilarious. A few examples, Mitchell picking up sexy underwear from the laundry and not realizing it was Kayla’s. Lisa trying to read emojis and getting the information wrong. Hunter fighting with the others about stopping their daughters. But it’s not just the parents that have their moments. All three of the daughters are equally funny. Sam making faces after kissing Chad, Julie stressing over her perfect night and Kayla hanging out with Connor, getting drunk. Part of the humor that works is that the focus is always on the parents or on the girls. The guys are secondary to the girls and that is how it should be.
The movie does deal with some adult themes but that’s one of the things I like about it. It doesn’t assume teenagers are going to be perfect but it also shows them managing to make some good choices along the way. While drinking and drugs come into play, all the teenagers are driven by a limo so they are safe along the way. Sam struggles with her sexuality but eventually realizes that she’s okay with liking who she likes. Their parents might struggle with their children’s incipient adulthood but that’s part of what makes it both funny and heartwarming. Kids grow up and parents have figure out how to let them do so safely.
The acting is what you expect from the caliber of actors. Leslie Mann, John Cena and Ike Barinholtz all do a good job of portraying parents who are dealing with their kids growing up. There is one point where the actress Sarayu Blue playing Marcie, Kayla’s mom talks about the girls not needing rescuing. Her moment talking about that is the perfect contrast to her husband’s nervousness. Kathryn Newton portrays Julie well, strong and confident, despite her mother’s insecurities. Geraldine Viswanathan as Kayla does a great job with her character. My favorite was Gideon Adlon as Sam, who portrays Sam as both vulnerable but learning who she is. She also has some great scenes with her true love interest, Angelica (Ramona Young) and both women do an amazing job with balancing sweetness and flirtiness.
The film is a bit predictable and some of the jokes are a bit inane. There is a scene where the girls end up throwing up in the back of the limo. While the scene does work well on some elements, it went on a bit too long. There is also a bit too much nudity, especially since this is a film with teenagers. If you are taking your kids, you should be warned that there is full male genitalia. The shots from behind don’t distract too badly from the film but Gary Cole’s equipment was not necessary to the film’s humor or overall enjoyment.
Overall, the film is sweet, the characters end up learning about each other and their daughters, and the humor, including a scene with Leslie Mann jumping around like a ninja is almost perfect. The exploration of teen sexuality and the focus on the teen females will go over well with young women. The audience was in stitches and I do think parents will empathize with the characters. Even adults without kids will be laughing out loud and loving this film.
Rating: 4 out of 5 roosters.
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