Blockers

This will be a relatively short post because there is on;y a little bit to say about this film. I had seen the trailer and thought that it was a raunchy comedy that I could safely skip. My wife had expressed a little interest but the butt chugging gag in the trailer was not promising. I’m going to blame the guys on one of the podcasts that I listen to for talking me into seeing this. They discussed it on one of their recent shows, and both of them thought it had some funny lines of dialogue. They were not impressed with the physical gags but thought there was a theme here worth looking at. Since I have been blocked myself [from seeing several other films until a certain member of the household was available] , it seemed right to give it a chance.

Indeed the film is raunchy. The parents act in some pretty stupid ways in their attempt to track down and stop their girls from making what they see as a mistake. There are three or four completely superfluous scenes that exist only for the humor and add nothing to the story. The aforementioned beer chugging sequence makes zero sense as soon as the parents identify themselves, but the contest goes on anyway. There is a car crash scene that gets laughed off, but of course in real life would entail huge consequences for those involved. The most extreme sections involve peeping into another home and catching the occupants engaged in some sexual activity. and then later returning to the same location, to break in, and ending up in a preposterous sex game which has nothing to do with the story. At least the sequence was honest enough to feature male frontal nudity rather than the traditional reveal of a nude woman. Gary Cole did his own reveal here and while it may not be my cup of tea, it was refreshing that the film treated men the way women are usually exploited.

One of the themes of the movie revolves around the sexist assumption that girls need to be treated differently in regard to their initiation into being sexually active. Indeed, that is a worthy goal but it is barely part of the story. First we have to have some version of naked “Sardines” with strangers, and then there has to be serial vomiting. The warm turn that the film takes in the last act is very typical of a teen film from the 80s or 90s. “Porkys”, “American Pie”, and “Clueless” all end up with more sincerity than you might expect. “Blockers ” turns into a family story with the adults and children learning to accept one another despite the flaws that all of them have. This is not exactly original, but it turns out kinda sweet anyway.

The older stars are adequately over the top. Jon Cena and Leslie Mann are the central figures and both play the parts as you expect. Mann is a neurotic mother with attachment issues and a whinny voice, who pushes things forward. Cena is an overprotective dad who sees his girl as a child, despite the fact he has nurtured her into being a successful athlete. Ike Barinholtz ends up stealing the film from the others by having the most comic payoffs to his dialogue and the story that has the most to say about trying to parent a child and ultimately succeeding.

So it is not a great film, it has a few good laughs but it is not original and if you are a sympathetic vomit-er, you might want to skip out on it. The sex issues seemed to bother the parents more than all the drinking and drug use that is part of the story. The girls are fine and their arcs play out pretty much the way they are telegraphed. This movie is not really made for me, I could tell by the soundtrack playlist which featured no music ever heard by a baby boomer. The next generation of teen comedies seems to be moving forward without a need to appease the older crowd. That seems an apt result given the storyline.

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