MovieBob Reviews BLOCKERS 2018

first_img Is Blockers good?As predictable mainstream studio comedies go, yes – it’s good.What’s it about?John Cena, Leslie Mann and Ike Barinholtz are the parents of three teenage girls who’ve been best friends since grade school and are now about to graduate. Mann is the devoted single mom terrified of being alone when her kid leaves for college, Cena is the World’s Greatest Dad who doesn’t quite know where to put all that energy in the same context and Barinholtz is the on-the-outs divorced dad making a (maybe) too-late stab at being involved again. By chance they discover that the girls have made a pact to all lose their virginity to their dates on Prom Night, come to assume that said “pact” is ill-advised (or possible coercive in nature – though it’s not) and set out to stop it. It is setting off a chain of comedic events as one trio pursues the other throughout the night from location to location with humorous results.…that sounds stupid.It’s not exactly high art, no. It’s a thoroughly formula studio comedy and you absolutely can see where everything is going and where it will likely end up pretty much from the outset. The trick, though, is that it’s a solid execution thereof and the details of how it gets to where it must inevitably arrive are consistently clever and surprisingly forward-looking for the genre. I know, I’m surprised too.Explain?Well, it’s sort of a weird hodgepodge of intentions and concepts. Wanting all at once to be a new-generation answer to She’s Out Of Control (ask your grandparents), Superbad but for girls (and that we won’t all suddenly realize was kinda skeezy and date-rapey in retrospect a year or two later). A Hangover/Horrible Bosses/It’s Always Sunny “adult cringe comedy” for middle-aged suburban parents, a straight-up Apatow-esque sex comedy, etc. But also a heartfelt balm for empty-nest angst and (this would be the surprising part) a woke-ish 21st Century answer to American Pie. And it aims to give Generation-Z a handful of morale-boosting jokes at the expense of their wacky peers and clueless parents while also repeatedly hitting said parents (who seem to be the “actual” target audience given the R-rating and older celebrity casting) with the almost shockingly forward-looking moral of: “Hey! Your teenage daughters are probably both having sex and taking drugs, possibly in conjunction, perhaps just to try `em on, perhaps more decisively, either way… not really the worst thing AT ALL, so chill out about it.”So the parents are the bad guys instead of the boys trying to trick the girls into sex or whatnot?Kind of… nobody is really the bad guy. But yeah, the “pact” is the girl’s idea (the big main gag is that the parents think the “agreement” is this gravely serious thing, but the girls pretty much thought it up on the day, aren’t at all super committed to it). And the guys can all basically take or leave it because they don’t see sex as a life-or-death thing they’ve got to take every possible shot at. I have no clue if that’s a realistic depiction of teenage social life in 2018, but for actual teenagers’ sake, I hope so because that sounds so much more psychologically healthy than previous eras…But yeah, there isn’t really a “villain” here outside of comedic-circumstance causing humorously bad things to happen – mostly to the parents, because we’re meant to see them in the wrong, and therefore it’s funny when they fail. Even the one kid who’s a literal drug dealer (or “drug-always-have-onhand-and-sharer?”) isn’t framed as particularly “bad,” since his date is Cena’s kid (Geraldine Viswanathan – who has real movie star potential). So naturally, she’s a near-superhuman omni-athlete whom drugs/alcohol seem to have barely any effect on.But if no one is “bad” or particularly unreasonable, what keeps the plot going?Contrivance-for-comedy’s-sake, mostly – as I said, this isn’t high art. Initially the dynamic is that Cena and Mann are the unreasonable panicked ones, and Barinholtz is along to keep their “mission” from wrecking his own daughter’s night.  So he keeps making the journey take longer than it otherwise should. But he eventually becomes concerned that she (his daughter) is being peer-pressured into sleeping with a boy rather than coming out to her friends (or herself), and he doesn’t want that to happen – which resolves itself more sweetly than you might expect.It sounds like this would all be hard to resolve in general.Yeah, kind of. It’s almost hamstrung by the fact that coming to the forward-thinking conclusion it does means it can’t have the “raucous nasty blowout” ending raunchy sex-comedies usually need to, which is an odd problem to have. I don’t know that I totally buy the ending to Cena’s storyline, in that it feels like the daughter should be more pissed at him than she is. But they’re leaning really hard into the idea that both of them are kind of acting out this routine of ‘tough dad who fears daughter’s sexuality” and “rebellious, defiant daughter’ even though neither of them are really those people. They’re both too smart to actually think that way but somehow “know” they’re supposed to – which is amusing in itself.But you recommend it?I do. I don’t know that it’s a classic, but I also don’t know that it’s nearly as predictable if you’re the actual age of the teenage characters in the movie in which case it might be entirely fresh. Whereas to me, it’s mostly just refreshing compared to how unpleasantly sex-negative and implicitly misogynist “sex comedy” as a genre when I was that age. And effectively shooting both the teen-centric and parent-centric version of the story, chopping them down to only the highlights and Voltroning the result together into one doubly-funny movie is definitely a winning strategy. MovieBob Reviews: ‘Shadow’MovieBob Reviews: ‘The Curse of La Llorona’ Stay on targetlast_img