Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Review: "Blockers" is good for a few laughs, but ultimately boils down to chick flick tropes

Blockers Review
There have been several comedies that have some potential, and the possibilities are endless. I haven't seen a comedy that revolved around three parents figuring out that their teenage children are planning to lose their virginity's on their prom night, but alas so is the story of "Blockers." There is a reason why there has been a chicken in all the advertising, I'm sure if the MPAA would have let them, the movie would have been called "Cock Blockers," so they have to have an outline of a "cock" animal in all the advertising. Hardy harr harr. When you've got Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz and even John Cena playing the three concerned parents who then plan to stalk their children at their own prom to make sure that their dates are keeping it in their pants, I mean man that is comedic gold potential right there.

Oddly enough, the stuff that works in "Blockers" was not what I expected, and the stuff I expected to land laughs was mediocre at best.

The parents all have daughters. The daughters are played by Kathryn Newton, Geraldine Visawanathan and Gideon Aldon, honestly they are the best. I was pleasantly surprised by how good they all were together. "Blockers" has been advertised as a "female Superbad" and I usually cringe when comparisons like that are made. In this case, honestly, they got pretty close. The work by Newton, Visawanathan and Aldon is sometimes raunchy, sometimes silly, and very human. That was the secret ingredient in "Superbad." The kids in that movie weren't the type of kids we usually see in teen comedies. They were vulnerable, they were curious and they were awkward. That's exactly the same type of feeling I got when I saw these girls. They are fully readable, and totally recognizable to when we were teenagers. That's the genius of this.

The work done by Leslie Mann, John Cena and Ike Barinholtz is fine. Not nearly as good as it should have been, but fine. John Cena should just stick to comedy, because he seems to come alive in the genre in a bigger way than he ever did in an action movie, which is surprising all around given his day job. Leslie Mann is one of the rare great female talents in comedy who is always reliable. She doesn't get too many opportunities to be front and center in a movie. But when she does, she delivers some magic. The best of the three parents though, is without a doubt and without surprise, is Ike. Barinholtz is a diamond in the rough, and it never ceases to amaze me that he's not in literally every comedy being written right now. I can't help but crack up every single time he's onscreen, and he does that movie after movie. Maybe I have a stupid sense of humor, but I laugh myself silly from his talent, and he's given all the best material in the movie, and he totally runs with it.

The thing is, if the adults weren't a big part of the movie, it would have been better. Had the movie really been a "female Superbad" and followed these three girls on this important journey and focused on their wild prom night. Had it really developed their thinking and need for virginity to go away on this one night. Well, that would have been better. When the adults come in, they are given such predictable character development that you can teleplay the movie from beginning to end. John Cena and Leslie Mann discuss not talking to each other, so of course they date. Ike's character is holding onto a secret that has damaged his friendship with Mann and Cena, and that connects to his daughter's need to fuck in a predictably dumb way. Maybe the girls lose their virginity, maybe they don't. I am not going to spoil the movie for you, but how the movie goes back to connect to the adults feels forced, feels manufactured and is useless as far as story goes. The adults feel like placeholders because the writers had no idea how to fill in the adventure with the girls, who should have been the main focus of the movie.

I think you will be surprised by the charm of the three young women in this movie, and just how awesome their characters are. I think Ike continues to show just how powerful a comedic powerhouse he is, and I hope he shows up in more movies soon. However, there are conflicting storylines here, and they eventually begin to ruin what could have been a great movie. But there is definitely enough material here to warrant a watch, and you I think you'll find it enjoyable.

FINAL GRADE: B

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