Staggering its way into cinemas, “Blockers” strikes a clumsy blow for equality by showing that dumb, crass, tasteless teenage sex comedies aren’t just for boys anymore. Yay, equality?
Three friends make a pact to lose their virginity on prom night but when one of their parents accidentally intercepts a text conversation, their parents band together determined to block their daughters’ plans.
Apart from its gender role reversal, there’s little that’s original about “Blockers”, at least in the beginning. The character set-up is dull but efficient, drawing the three children and parents in broad, stereotypical strokes and rendering most of them devoid of likeability. While Leslie Mann can perform these types of roles in her sleep (and does often seem on autopilot during “Blockers”), John Cena continues to demonstrate a talent for comedy that deserves better material than he’s provided with here. Unfortunately, the most interesting story and characters “Blockers” has to offer are often sidelined in the case of Sam (Gideon Adlon) or reduced to being the butt of jokes and cruel dismissiveness in the case of her father Hunter (Ike Barinholtz).
Lacking the gross-out courage of its gross-out convictions, “Blockers” wants to be a bawdy comedy with heart, gently admonishing the audience for its preconceptions and showing that, in the words of Cyndi Lauper, girls just wanna have fun. But in doing so, it rides roughshod over some of the more important things it’s trying to do, most notably Sam’s burgeoning sexuality and her supposedly deadbeat Dad’s intuitive sensitivity and supportive defensiveness in favour of sex-crazed parents and suppositorial beer bongs.