At the Movies with Alan Gekko: Blockers

MPAA Rating: R/ Genre: Comedy/ Stars: Leslie Mann, John Cena, Ike Barinholtz, Kathryn Newton, Geraldine Viswanathan, Gideon Adlon, Ramona Young, Graham Phillips, Miles Robbins, Jimmy Bellinger, Colton Dunn, Sarayu Blue, Gary Cole, Gina Gershon, June Diane Raphael, Hannibal Buress, Jake Picking/ Runtime: 102 minutes

I feel if I am going to start this review with complete and total honesty dear reader then I think you should know that the creative team behind the movie Blockers needs to be completely and totally ashamed of themselves. The reason I say this is because not only does this film possess a meh at best title, but the tagline is cornier than Kansas on the 4th of July, and the trailers have been terrible in their attempts to showcase the way this movie’s sense of humor. Yet even though, in all fairness, this film’s plot and the mood of the film have been captured quite fairly, I do feel that this film’s quality most certainly has become the victim of misrepresentation.

The reason I bring this up at the beginning of this review let alone at all is because I think it is significant to showcase that this movie most certainly is nowhere near the film that the horrendous marketing team would like to imply. Instead, this movie is actually a pretty damn funny as well as extremely well-constructed comedies that I have had the pleasure of seeing here lately. Indeed it may not be a unique premise, due to the genre of teen sex comedy only having a limited number of avenues to explore yet with six leads all at the top of their individual comedy game, this film really does work in every way that it needs to do while also adding some sorely needed heart into the proceedings as well.

The plot is as follows: Blockers begins by introducing us in the audience to 3 parents named Lisa, Mitchell, and Hunter who find themselves meeting when their respective daughters quickly become the best of friends on their very first day of elementary school. Thus these 3 people who are all completely different in a lot of ways also find themselves actually becoming friends as well as the years go by and their children continue to grow closer…

Flash forward to the time of life in every young person’s life known as high school, and our trio of intrepid parents are all in the midst of very different stages in their lives when it comes to how they are raising their children. Indeed Lisa has become the poster mother for helicopter parents everywhere and is absolutely and positively horrified about her daughter going away to college, Mitchell has become a conservative physical fitness fanatic who on a day to day basis finds himself regularly outsmarted by both his wife as well as their in equal measure mature as well as brilliant daughter, and Hunter has for all intents and purposes become the neighborhood pariah due to an affair leading to both a very messy divorce and a very deep and significant rift being put in his relationship with his daughter. Suffice it to say then that the friendship between our 3 main characters has clearly seen better days, but it isn’t long before that infamous night known as prom rolls around and everything changes in an instant.

This is because while doing some typical parent investigating, our trio quickly make the terrifying discovery that their daughters have chosen to make a sex pact, and have vowed to one another that on prom night they will all lose their virginity. To say the parents don’t take this news well is a mild understatement. Yet even though Hunter just wants his little girl to relax and have a night to remember, Lisa and Mitchell have other ideas and begin to form a plan. A plan that involves doing whatever they can to keep their children away from their prom dates as much as possible; in essence cockblocking them. Of course it should go without saying, but just because a plan seems well-planned doesn’t mean there isn’t room for chaos and shenanigans to crop up and wreck complete havoc and trust me when I say that’s exactly what happens…..

Now following years of really building herself and her skills up as both a writer and producer, Kay Cannon makes her directorial debut with this film. Suffice it to say that she manages to do not only a wonderful job, but she even manages to establish that she is easily one of the best new filmmakers to keep an eye on in the comedy genre. Indeed while a lot of comedic films nowadays really do feel absolutely overstuffed and also packaged with improv’d moments that are not only long, but feel absolutely forced in every way, Miss Cannon makes the wise decision to do everything in her power to ensure that her film is on point in every way possible. A trick that works wonderfully since not only is every scene in this film as funny as it could be, but by making the creative decision to place nearly the whole film, it really helps ensure that the plot is as taut and engaging as it needs to be, and Miss Cannon manages to make it all work in a way that is absolutely spectacular.

Now of course it should be said that one element that is most assuredly aiding the film through and through is the element that this film is equipped with some truly wonderful comedic actors working their magic as the parents at the heart of these madcap shenanigans. Indeed make no mistake: Leslie Mann, John Cena and Ike Barinholtz have all got a history of playing co-starring parts in the comedy genre, but I feel that this is probably the first film that really lets these three reliable entertainers showcase just what they can do when given the opportunity to lead a film, and trust me when I say that each of them manages to knock it completely out of the park. Indeed not only does each primary lead offer their distinct twist on a archetype that has been done countless times before, but they also have spectacular chemistry with each other, and when the chance to go big for a significant laugh arises each and every one of them takes advantage of the occasion and succeeds quite admirably.

Yet just as phenomenal as the main trio at the heart of this story are however, I also feel that a just as impressive feat that this film pulls off quite extraordinarily is just how much it allows the kids to be just as hilarious as their parents. Indeed it isn’t wrong to say that in a “usual film of this ilk” the kids and their various misadventures would serve as little more than an under-cooked side adventure that gifts nothing to the main storyline rather than giving the parents a new place to head to. Thankfully this is not a movie that does that; instead this is a movie which chooses to hoist a fair amount of the comedic weight so to speak on the kids and not only do they a great job separately, but even in their scenes together there is a genuine chemistry between the three that really helps to make their escapades just as entertaining as their parents’. Yet even if Miss Geraldine Viswanathan proves to be the scene-stealer amongst the kids in this, I still feel that Kathryn Newton and Gideon Adlon still deserve a lot of praise for their efforts in ensuring that what would, in other films like this, be seen as nothing more than two-dimensional and very cliché characters actually feel and seem like real people rather than fictional creations. Indeed I know that the usual routine in this particular brand of movie would be too narrow in on one of the 2 particular points of view and then run with it till the end of the film. Yet Miss Cannon has chosen to go against the norm and try to give this film a balance between the kids and the parents and it’s a gamble that pays off wonderfully.

All in all I understand that when it comes to the genre known as the teen sex comedy there do seem to quite a few of these movies made, but not a lot of them are even remotely any good. Yet I do feel that the most important rule of movie making is that “a quality movie will almost always override a vast number of similar yet terrible movies no matter what of genre of movie we are discussing” and it is my opinion that Blockers is most certainly evidence that this rule still works. Indeed while the fact that it certainly feels like this movie literally came out of thin air does help, I feel that this is only a small percentage for why this movie works as well as it does. Instead I would like to argue that this movie works as well as it does because at the end of the day, Blockers is a well-constructed and absolutely hilarious film that, with the help of extremely talented people both in front and behind the camera, serves as a definite must-see. On a scale of 1-5 I give Blockers a solid 4 out of 5.