Blockers gives the tried and true formula of horny teenagers losing their virginity an enlightened spin. The film is seen from the girls' perspective with their horrified parents in tow. It mixes in a healthy dose of heart to go with the raunchy humor. Blockers, like most films produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, swings low between the humorous bits. Thankfully, Director Kay Cannon, writer of the Pitch Perfect films, infuses a jolt of girl power in her feature debut. The result is a feel good comedy relatable to all.
Leslie Mann stars as Lisa Decker, the divorced and doting single mother of Julie (Kathryn Newton). Unbeknown to Lisa, Julie and her two lifelong best friends, the athletic Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan), and shy Samantha (Gideon Adlon), have made a pact to lose their virginity on prom night. The girls' sexual intentions are discovered accidentally on their way to the dance. Lisa finds herself aligned with Mitchell (John Cena), Kayla's overprotective alpha dad, and Hunter, Sam's goofy absentee father; on an outrageous mission to preserve their daughters' virtues.
Cinema is littered with crass films about teenagers trying to get laid. Blockers is quite crude, but a whole lot smarter in its approach. The girls are sensible provocateurs. One of the great subplots concerns Sam coming to terms with her sexuality. She thinks she likes girls, but really doesn't know how to feel. Her journey to self-discovery is handled brilliantly by writers Brian and Jim Kehoe. These teens aren't blazing sexpots out for lust. They each want their first time to be memorable, but are just teenagers; inexperienced in life. Going all the way rarely unfurls as expected.
Most of the humor comes from the adults attempts to thwart coitus. The set-ups are hilarious. Two scenes in particular will have audiences rolling in the isles. The surprising show stealer is John Cena. He loves his daughter dearly, raising her like a coach with a star player. One of the sweetest arcs is his realization that daddy's girl is no longer a child. You teach your kids the best you can, then hope they're prepared for the adult world. The wrestler turned actor delivers his best performance yet as Kayla's father. Ike Barinholtz also deserves a shout out for his comedic chops. He's a fantastic character actor that's often overlooked. Barinholtz, Cena, and the teen actresses carry Blockers. I honestly feel that Leslie Mann is the same in every movie.
Blockers stretches the plot thin. The build-up to the third act is too melodramatic. It's a ten minute block of filler that gets too soapy. Not needed. Blockers would have been perfect at ninety-minutes. The laughs and warmth were big enough. I can imagine the filmmakers in the editing bay looking to add heft to the runtime.
From Universal Pictures, Blockers raises the bar a smidge for this type of comedy. It's about time we get an estrogen fueled take on the genre. Casting was key to this film's success. I would never have even thought of John Cena for this role. Blockers is a hard-R film with the requisite nudity, drug use, and language expected.