The Beer-Gin Blues: A Review of "Blockers"
Blockers is the new sex comedy that has it’s heart in the right place, but can’t seem to make up it’s mind on how to expound on what it wants to say. Directed by Kay Cannon (she wrote the Pitch Perfect film series; and wrote and produced 30 Rock on television), with a screenplay from Brian and Jim Kehoe; I’ll applaud the film for carrying its liberal heart and values proudly, but left the theatre wondering ‘What if?’
All one needs to know about the film’s storyline is that it’s about three parents whose respective daughters are best friends, and for varying reasons, the three girls have entered a pact to lose their virginity on prom night. The title comes from the efforts and escapades of the three parents—portrayed by Leslie Mann as a single mom, John Cena as the self-professed ‘Hero Father’, and Ike Barinholtz as the absentee father—to ‘block’ their little girls from carrying out their plan. What’s commendable with the film is how it doesn’t just concentrate on the parents; but spends as much time on the daughters, showcasing with stark reality, how these teenage girls can think and process such life-changing choices.
Ironically, the film earned an R-18 rating here; and so while half the film is about 16 and 17 year-olds, the kids of that age can’t even enter the cinema. As such, it then becomes more of an eye-opener to parents; especially those who like to think of themselves as the cool parent or best friend of their children. And why the R rating? Would surmise this has to do with how the film sporadically goes raunchy in trying to be realistic, and carry out its morality lessons. Unfortunately, there are tonal inconsistencies here - even when it goes raunchy, it does so in half-measures, holding back at the last minute, or going all out raunchy in one sequence, only to seem to be trying to rectify that the next, and go all warm and cuddly.
This would be the screenplay’s apparent lack of conviction. And that is a shame, as the cast tries their very best. Leslie Mann is great—I loved how in a closing sequence, she’s mouthing how she’s fine and can handle her daughter leaving for college, while tears stream down her face. Cena is more than ready to play the butt (literally) of sight gags and jokes, acting against type —as he did in Trainwreck. Barinholtz is earnest in the role that normally would have been played by the likes of a Jason Sudeikis - the trying too hard to be cool, obnoxious parent.
There’s an LGBTQ angle, there’s a daughter realising Love should accompany loss of virginity, and there’s acceptance that one has to respect your child’s choices. So, as I said, the social commentary that imbues this film is admirable in terms of tolerance and diversity, just wish there was more consistency on how it’s all being said and presented.