Movie #20 2021: Blockers (2018)

It seems like I’ve been wallowing in some pretty hefty films so far in 2021, so why not give something a little more light-hearted a go?

Blockers is a little 2018 teen outing directed by Kay Cannon, who is actually known more for her writing and producing credits on TV shows like 30 Rock and New Girl. Though this is her directorial debut, she comes from a comedy background and although I never enjoyed New Girl, I did quite like 30 Rock, so that’s a good start. This film is based around three parents of three best friends, who have made a pact with one another to lose their respective virginities on prom night. The parents catch wind of the pact, and – as most parents would be – are horrified. This is a comedy though, and instead of just talking to their children about this decision, they set out on finding them at prom, hell bent on stopping them from doing something they might regret. And so the shenanigans ensue.

Blockers (named that way as these parents are ‘cock blockers’) opens with Lizzo and June Diane Raphael dressed as Sarah Palin… so that’s basically all of my interests checked off within the first 3 minutes. A good start.

After that, it’s kind of meh. Some of the adults effectively garner a few laughs (Raphael, Hannibal Buress and John Cena specifically) but it’s just not as funny as it should be. I’ve never understood why Leslie Mann gets cast in these types of comedies, (other than that she’s married to Judd Apatow) because she’s rarely funny. I’m sure she’s lovely, but she’s just not funny. Sorry. There is one sequence in which Mann does a Mission: Impossible style forward roll in order to prevent herself from being spotted, but that’s just an exactly of relatively funny writing, and once again, the one laugh she got from me was… well, it wasn’t really for her at all.

Don’t take that the wrong way: some of the writing is awful too. The script itself is kind of all over the place, with the opening dragging on too long and being far from succinct, whilst giving us minimal information about these characters for the first 20 minutes of establishing sequences. What I did appreciate however was that this type of coming-of-age/sex at prom story is usually centred around teenage boys, so it was fun to see the tables turned in that regard. Imagine my surprise then when I realised the screenplay came from the minds of two adult men. Maybe Cannon should have stuck to her roots and lent a hand to re-writing this alongside directing it, then we might have something that would actually resonate with teenage girls.

All is not lost: it’s not completely without its merits. Throwing a gay female teenager in there? A brilliant choice. That never happens in these sorts of films, so at least there were some more unique aspects within it. When she grimaced after kissing a boy? I felt that. 

Though having a gay lead character is nice to see, there’s a lot here that is the complete opposite. I certainly didn’t need the vomit scene. Does anyone need a vomit scene? So poor. Not funny. Just gross. I mean, you see Gary Cole’s 62-year old naked penis on more than one occasion during this movie, and I’d rather see that another sixteen times than see that vomit scene again.

There are one or two refreshing ideas here, but there’s very little that is memorable about this and the script is really poorly paced overall. Maybe I’ll stick to those hard-hitting movies that I came here to avoid on this day.

I’ll never think about it again.

Blockers is available to rent on Amazon and the Google Play Store for £2.49 in the UK.

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