Movie Reviews

Published on April 4th, 2018 | by Josh Aja

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Blockers

Three childhood friends, Sam (Gideon Adlon), Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan) and Julie (Kathryn Newton, make a pack that they will all have sex for the first time with their dates on prom night. They get together at Julie’s house the night of prom to and get sent off by all families.  They head out in a limo for the most memorable night of their lives. Little do they know that Julie left her laptop on with their group chat open. Julie’s mom, Lisa (Leslie Mann), finds the laptop and with the help of Kayla’s dad, Mitchell (John Cena), and Sam’s dad, Hunter (Ike Barinholtz), they decipher the emoji messages and discover the girls’ sex pact. Lisa a single mom, who just found out that her daughter has been accepted to a college thousands of miles away, thinks her daughter is making a huge mistake and wants to confront her. Mitchell, an overprotective father, agrees and they decide to race after the girls to confront them at the dance. Hunter who has been out of his daughter’s life and just wants her to have a great night tries to first talk them out of it, then physically stop them as they get into Lisa’s car. All three in the car they speed off to what will definitely me a memorable prom night for them and their three daughters.

This comedy is the directorial debut for Kay Cannon (writer Pitch Perfect 2, screenplay Pitch Perfect, actress How to Be Single).  She does a good job and this is a well-made comedy. The story does an okay job of blending comedy with a heartfelt story of the relationship between parents and children. There are definitely parts that had the audience roaring in laughter. The jokes at time were a little juvenile and for shock value alone, but other times were very witty. There is also a decent amount of cheesiness in this film that didn’t necessarily fit all of the time. With a rooster in front of the title you have to assume there are going to be some raunchy moments. Over all the performances were good. John Cena has some very funny moments but also some pretty campy lines. I did feel his character had the same moment several times though. They had him cry multiple times throughout the film and by the end the big tough guy crying grew old for me. Ira Barinholtz has some fun moments also.

Sometimes the best moments in a comedy are spoiled in the trailers and for me they did a good job of putting enough of the high points in the trailer will out ruining the punchline. I found myself enjoying the buildup to the payoff more than the big finish. I thought that seeing this film in a theater also helped as many of the laughs more contagious audience laughter than punchlines. Overall I left the theater enjoying the film and thinking it was better than expected.

3.5 out of 5

 

 

Second review by Michael Newman

Blockers Review

The movie opens with three parents dropping off their three little girls for their first day of school.  This sets the stage for a lifelong friendship between the girls and the somewhat distant relationship shared by their parents.  On the night of their prom, the three girls form a sex pact, a rite of passage that they feel will cement their friendship into adulthood and bond them for life.  An event that they can celebrate every year at everyone’s favorite fancy restaurant, The Olive Garden.  The movie focuses on not only the daughters and their pact to lose their virginity, but also on the parents who form their own pact to prevent it.  Blockers is an incredibly funny and smart movie, directed by Kay Cannon (best known for her work on the Pitch Perfect trilogy) and released by Universal Pictures.

The daughter characters are broken down into three distinct types.  There is Julie (Kathryn Newton), the blonde popular girl, who yearns to attend college at the other end of the country far away from her “best friend” of a mother Lisa (Leslie Mann).  Then there is the jock, Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan) whose slightly over sensitive and over protective father Mitchell (John Cena) has raised her to be strong and independent.  Finally, we have the nerd, Sam (Gideon Adlon) who is not only struggling with who she is, but with her distant relationship with her father Hunter (Ike Barinholtz).  While each represents a stereotype in their own way, at no point did they feel derivative at all.  In fact, it’s the strong bond that they have for one another, despite their differences, that is the glue that holds their friendship together.

For me however, it was the parents who stole the show.  The antics they get into while trying to track down their children and prevent the horrors that each believe will occur if they lose their virginity is what had me laughing hysterically for most of the movie.  As absurd as each situation may be, it’s the delivery that steals each scene.  Whether it’s the discussion of what each emoticon means as the three eavesdrop on their daughter’s text conversation, or the subtitled dialog between Cena and Barinholtz during an uncomfortable interrupted sex game, the delivery is always spot on.  Trust me, you’ll never think of Jurassic Park in the same way again.  I haven’t laughed so hard since I watched 21 Jump Street, and I wasn’t alone as the entire theater was regularly erupting in laughter.

With all the drinking, sex, and debauchery, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this is just another gross-out teen comedy about wild parties and general mayhem.  You’d be forgiven, but you’d be missing the point entirely.  While the movie is certainly funny, even if a bit childish in parts, it also has a tremendous amount of heart.  Blockers is about children who grow into adulthood together, while following different paths to get there, but always standing by one another.  It’s about parents not only learning about their kids, but also about each other and looking past their differences and personal struggles to work together to achieve what they feel is best for their kids.  The on-screen chemistry, particularly between Cena, Barinholtz and Mann is what really makes this movie work.  Much like their daughters, they couldn’t be more different from one another, yet that’s what makes them perfect for each other.

Blockers is truly one of the biggest surprises of 2018 (even if it is still early in the year).  The previews don’t give the movie any justice at all.  It’s hilarious, easily one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in several years, but also moving and emotional at the same time.  At the end of the movie, many people in the theater applauded.  Walking out of the theater, one movie-goer exclaimed that he’ll have six-pack abs from laughing as hard as he did.  Blockers is one of the rare films, that keeps you laughing and entertained throughout.  It ranks right up there with There’s Something About Mary, Wedding Crashers, and 21 Jump Street as one of the few movies that literally had me in tears laughing the entire time. An absolute diamond in the rough as far as comedy movies are concerned, and one that I think everyone will enjoy.

4 out of 5 stars

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