When three little girls became fast friends in kindergarten, their parents Lisa (Leslie Mann), Mitchell (John Cena) and Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) formed long term bonds as well, but never did it occur to them that a prom night pact made by their daughters would find them acting as the ultimate "Blockers."
Laura's Review: C+
The teen sex comedy has been a movie-going staple since the 1980's spawned "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" and "Porky's," but I cannot remember a genuinely good one since 2007's "Superbad." Arriving on a wave of hype from this year's SXSW Film Festival, "Blockers" makes its claim to fame by giving us a gender twist on the 'losing one's virginity on prom night' trope, the 'women can be just as fill-in-the-blank as men' concept that began with 2011's "Bridesmaids." But with a screenplay by Brian and Jim Kehoe (modified to change one of its three dads to a mom), "Pitch Perfect" screenwriter Kay Cannon makes her directorial debut that succeeds more with the charisma of its cast than its contrived situations and gross-out gags. The characters are all neatly slotted 'types,' Mitchell the sports mad, overprotective dad; Lisa the clingy, best pal mom and Hunter the hard-partying wild card distanced from his daughter due to divorce. Their daughters are Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan), an independent athletic type; Julie (Kathryn Newton), the blonde with a boyfriend and Sam (Gideon Adlon), the petite, buxom one with a secret crush on Angelica (Ramona Young). It is Julie who announces her desire to have sex on prom night with Austin (Graham Phillips), the boy she's been dating for six month and plans on attending UCLA with despite mom's belief she'll be going to college in Chicago, 45 minutes away. Kayla throws her hat in the ring as a matter of practicality, an obstacle to dispense with before higher learning. Sam, who hasn't told her long time friends about her suspected sexual orientation, decides this may be one way to find out for sure. Everyone's surprised when Hunter arrives at Lisa's pre-prom party in a stretch limo, his ex-wife annoyed, Sam embarrassed. Mitchell's already gunning for Kayla's date, her laid back lab partner Connor (Miles Robbins), but Hunter wants to pose with Sam's, fedora-wearing good guy Chad (Jimmy Bellinger). He'll also have the coolest head after the kids have gone and Lisa finds Julie's laptop open, the kids' emoji texts unfurling down the screen. Hunter thinks they should be allowed the chance to grow up and have their privacy, but cannot resist the urge to correct Mitchell's hopelessly naive interpretation of their conversation. Mitchell and Lisa are determined to keep their daughters from having sex. As per its title, "Blockers" (the rooster on the movie's poster is a stand in for the missing prefix) follows the parents more than the teens. After missing them at the prom (the kids seem to stay for all of ten minutes), they head to Austin's only to catch his parents (Gary Cole and Gina Gershon) in the act in an otherwise empty house. Mitchell undergoes the worst of their adventures as he's caught amidst blindfolded sex play, gets dressed down by wife Marcie (Sarayu Blue) for double standards and chugs beer through an orifice he's very protective of. Back in the limo, we're treated to a roundelay of projectile vomiting. Parents and children are reunited at a hotel bash for two heart-to-hearts, one realization and a little electrocution. Cena has a likable screen presence that makes him a natural for comedies, not unlike Dwayne Johnson. Mann's character is a bit grating, but she has a great bit of physical comedy when she finally decides to get out of her daughter's way. Barinholtz is the overaged kid in their midst. The teens are mostly fresh faces from television, Viswanathan making the boldest impression. Playing her date, the man-bunned lab partner who turns out to have a talent for chemicals of the recreational kind, Robbins has an easy charm. As "Blockers" begins with parents seeing their kids off to their first day of school, it wraps as they head off to college. Then it does something really refreshing, a clear sequel signifier collapsing into a practical joke. The movie gets its message across, the teens engaging in emotionally invested (or at least considerate), responsible sex, but simply switching genders hasn't alleviated the feeling that we've seen this all many times before. Grade:
Robin's Review: DNS