As I write this review, it’s September 5. I saw this flick at a private screening when the movie was still a rough cut. So rendering wasn’t complete, effects incomplete, that sort of thing. Anyway, I had no idea what this movie was. Originally, the movie was titled “The Pact,” somewhat convincing me that it was some kind of horror film with Caity Lotz (of LEGENDS OF TOMORROW [2016 – ongoing] fame), but that movie was made back in 2012, confusing the crap out of me. It wasn’t until that morning that I realized that it was a comedy with vastly different people attached. All I knew was that it was about a set of parents who set out to prevent their teen daughters from having sex. I was not eager to see this. But a free movie is a free movie, so I didn’t complain too much.
Here’s the cast. As for the teens, we have Kathryn Newton (THREE BILLBOARDS , LADY BIRD , and upcoming films BEN IS BACK  and DETECTIVE PIKACHU ), Gideon Adlon (feature film debut [congrats, miss], and upcoming films SKIN IN THE GAME  and MUSTANG ), and Geraldine Viswanathan (stuff I’ve never heard of, and the upcoming EGGPLANT EMOJI ). As for the parents, we have Leslie Mann (THE COMEDIAN , HOW TO BE SINGLE , BIG DADDY , and upcoming films THE WOMEN OF MARWEN  and MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN ), John Cena (FERDINAND , SISTERS , THE MARINE , and upcoming films BUMBLEBEE  and THE VOYAGE OF DR. DOLITTLE ), and Ike Barinholtz (BRIGHT , SUICIDE SQUAD , and SISTERS).
Here’s the crew. Directing is Kay Cannon, making her directorial debut. Congrats, miss. But now we have a red flag of epic proportions. Five writers: duo John Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (both known for AMERICAN REUNION , HAROLD & KUMAR ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY , HAROLD & KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE , and is slated for the upcoming announced AMERICAN PIE 5, no release date announced), brothers Brian and Jim Kehoe (both known for unknown projects), and Eben Russell (2 episodes of GIRLBOSS , 9 episodes of LAST MAN STANDING [2011 – 2017], and head writer of WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE [2002 – ongoing]).
This is my honest opinion of: BLOCKERS
A trio of parents find out that their respective teenage daughters aren’t as innocent as they believed and that they’ve made a pact to lose their virginities to their prom dates. Not ready to face how grown up they are, they set out to prevent their daughters from having sex.
Yup, this is about as bad as I remember it. Just another raunchy comedy. I have no idea what I can possibly say about this movie that anyone who knows me really well wouldn’t already be able to figure out, but for those that don’t, let’s get started.
I have three major comedy “no-no’s.” No bodily waste. As in, no feces, no urine, and no vomit. No comedy has ever made it work (with the exception of POPSTAR), so I never want to see it in my comedies. Others include fart jokes (only Seth MacFarlane ever made those work, and only in earlier FAMILY GUY episodes), gratuitous nudity from either males or females, among others. If even one of these things are part of the movie, I immediately don’t like it. No compromises. This movie has vomit and gratuitous nudity. Before you lovers of this movie, of which there’s apparently a lot, I acknowledge that the vomit scene is the only one in the movie. Well… I don’t care, it was gross and I didn’t laugh. There’s gratuitous male nudity. Yup, didn’t need to see either Gary Cole’s junk, or the testicles being twisted, be it Barinholtz’s or a stand-in’s, by Gina Gershon. Yes, I heard the audience behind me roaring with laughter behind me, but I wasn’t one of them. I prefer my comedy to be smart. Like, it took the writer some serious thought how to make the most of a punchline. I prefer smart and clever humor, not something a horny monkey with a quarter of a brain could come up with in its sleep.
There’s a lot more comedic moments that didn’t work for me. Lisa’s (Leslie Mann) SUV going completely vertical in a ditch, Mitch’s (John Cena) butt-chug scene and squirting it back into Hunter’s (Barinholtz) face, Mitch mistaking Kayla’s (Geraldine Viswanathan) underwear for his wife’s (Sarayu Blue), none of this was funny to me. More gross than anything else. There’s kind of an unspoken belief that, in the case of great comedic writing, that it’s not the gross-out humor itself that’s funny, it’s the gross-out humor that’s happening… to these characters. The characters have to be likable, relatable, and sympathetic, so when the gross-out humor happens, it’s funnier.
But that’s the problem for me. I didn’t care about… anyone in this picture. The teens felt like typical bland horny teens that you would find in a raunchy virginity-losing comedy like this. Both Julie (Kathryn Newton) and Kayla are shamelessly horny, which wouldn’t be a problem if they weren’t talking so much about it and had real development and arcs. The only teen character that I was able to latch onto was Sam (Gideon Adlon), who was wrestling with coming out as a lesbian and feeling left out of losing her virginity, but even this gets ruined later on, but I’ll tackle that in the spoilers.
As for the adults, they fare worse. Because they get the most amount of screen time, and because they’re the most annoying characters in the movie, I was groaning at the movie more than anything. Hunter starts off being the most reasonable, as he makes active attempts early on to prevent Lisa and Mitch from ruining their nights. And admittedly, there is a funny moment where Hunter pushes Lisa out of the car. Actually, that whole “taking control of the SUV” scene was pretty funny as a whole. But even Hunter hops on board the annoyance train when he thinks that Sam’s date, Chad (Jimmy Bellinger), is pressuring Sam into sex that she doesn’t want, even though he seemed really cool with Chad in the beginning. Each character overreacts and I just couldn’t find it funny. I know that’s the point of the movie, but it’s a blunted point for me.
One of the reasons why Sam’s arc is ruined isn’t because she does eventually come out of the closet to her friends, but it’s her reasons why she doesn’t in the first place. “I don’t want to lose my best friends.” Really? When did either Julie or Kayla give her reasons that they wouldn’t accept her as she was? Look, I get it, homosexuals have a hard time with this sort of thing all the time and society doesn’t always accept them. But there’s a reason why a movie like LOVE, SIMON works so well. It’s because there’s an exploration of why Simon stays in the closet. Sam doesn’t get the same time dedicated to her issues. Even if she doesn’t want to advertise it to the world, which she ends up doing in one of the final scenes of the movie by kissing Angelica (Ramona Young), it feels almost too wrapped up nicely to be considered a plot point worth having.
Overall, I couldn’t stand this movie. While I can’t say hated it, I truly didn’t like it. The characters didn’t work for me, generally not being able to identify with them, and it feels like a standard raunchy comedy with desperate bottom-of-the-barrel jokes that even a teenager can come up with. This movie has clearly found an audience, as all gross-out humor comedies do, but I’m not one of them. If gross-out comedies are your thing, then you don’t need me to say if I recommend this or not, which I don’t. It’s not overly infuriating, but I sincerely think there’s better comedies on the market. Comedies can be so… unfunny.
My honest rating for BLOCKERS: 2/5