Director: Kay Cannon
Writers: Brian Kehoe & Jim Kehoe, Jon Hurwitz & Hayden Schlossberg, Eben Russell
Produced by: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, James Weaver, Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg, Chris Fenton
Executive Producers: Nathan Kahane, Joseph Drake, Josh Fagen, Chris Cowles, Dave Stassen, Jonathan McCoy
Stars: Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz, John Cena, Kathryn Newton, Geraldine Indira Viswanathan, Gideon Adlan.
The latest in a long and never-ending line of American teen comedies, this film follows three parents, played by Mann, Cena and Barinholtz, who discover their teenaged daughters have made a pact to lose their virginity on prom night, and try to stop this from occurring. The film was originally titled “The Pact” but was later changed to Blockers with a silhouette of a rooster preceding it, thus inferring “Cock Blockers”.
One reviewer thought this film was “empowering” because it “shows girls flourishing on their own terms, surrounded by supportive friends and nice boys and well-meaning parents.” While this may be true, it isn’t the message one will take away from viewing this film. What lingers is the enthusiastic way teens seize on any opportunity to get totally drunk, and how easily they mislead their well-meaning yet clueless parents.
I expected this film to be composed of wall-to-wall crass humour (based on the trailer) and yes, there was a lot of vulgarity, but there were also some sweet moments between the parents and their children that helped to establish close bonds between them from their first day at school right through to their prom, which explained the parents’ over-protectiveness. In many ways the children seemed more savvy and worldly-wise than their parents, whose similarly rebellious acts during their youth appeared tame in comparison.
A theme running through the film concerned the undeclared sexual preference of one daughter, which I wasn’t expecting to see in this type of film. Her father’s desire to prevent her from bowing to peer pressure was actually quite thought-provoking and mature in a film mainly devoted to depicting drunkenness and vomiting. It was also amusing yet touching how the object of this daughter’s desire was usually photographed in heroic slow-motion, recalling a super hero.
The three male dates for the prom were not depicted as stereotypical brainless hunks with only sex on their minds, with one of them having an enterprising side line in recreational chemicals. While the boys did behave like teenagers, they were also shown to be capable of courtesy and consideration, and were so good humoured about the train wreck unfolding around them that they seemed too good to be true.
The parents were less endearing, with former pro wrestler John Cena probably the weakest link as he overacted like He-Man and his delivery of dialogue was often hampered by poor sound quality or possibly just his enunciation. Lesley Mann reprised her scatter-brained, slightly dippy depiction of a mother who was scared of change. Ike Barinholtz as the outcast father had some touching moments trying to set the record straight while mostly being ignored.
The funniest moment for me was when the three parents snuck into the house of another couple who were into role playing, with amusing results as the three intruders got caught up unintentionally in the other couple’s shenanigans.
So while it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting, with some funny moments, it was just another one of those juvenile American movies with lots of swearing instead of witty dialogue, numerous drunken escapades by teenagers and adults alike, and all that rites of passage stuff (getting drunk, trying to lose one’s virginity on prom night, etc.).
If you enjoyed the Bad Moms movies you’ll probably like this one as well. But if you prefer your humour to be more sophisticated and subtle, then this isn’t the movie for you, being just another unoriginal comedy, with predicable situations and largely two dimensional characters.