REVIEW: ‘Blockers’ Is Funny As Both An Adult And Teen Movie

I’ve been burned by comedies before, by those that have been marketed to teens as well as the ones for adults. It was quite a pleasant surprise, then, that “Blockers” ended up being so good, having laughs come from both aspects.

The title should make the general concept here pretty apparent. The film takes place on prom night and follows three teen girls, Julie (Kathryn Newton), Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan) and Sam (Gideon Adlon). The three want to have a memorable prom experience, but their parents, Lisa (Leslie Mann), Mitchell (John Cena) and Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) are worried about them potentially having sex.

As a result, while the teens are having their own adventures at the prom parties, the trio of parents set off on a crazy mission to prevent any sexual activity from taking place.

A major strength of “Blockers” is that it doesn’t go overboard in some key areas. With parenting being a significant factor and the concept of the three lead characters trying to potentially ruin prom night, there could have been scenes that were overly sentimental or zany, respectively. However, the filmmakers were able to dial these aspects to a level where they’re there, but aren’t over the top.

Had there been an overabundance of either, the film could’ve been derailed. For example, last year’s “The House” just had too many over-the-top moments and it faltered. But, fortunately, that’s not the case here.

Another positive featured here is the fine balance struck between the two plot threads going on, one following the parents and the other following the teens. Whether it’s the parents trying to understand emojis or the teens having to interact with their prom dates, everything seems to click really well, especially from a comedic perspective.

This is because of some solid comedic writing, which tackles issues at a teen and adult level in a way that’s consistently funny. While some of the humor doesn’t always work and there were some attempts only there for shock and awe, “Blockers” for the most part remains on track thanks to a strong, funny script.

This is also helped by a really great cast. First and foremost, it should be noted just how well Cena, known by most for his work in pro wrestling, did here in this comedy. He perfectly fits the character of an uptight dad, but gives personality to the role so that he doesn’t come across as a caricature.

Leslie Mann, who has a lot of experience in comedies, is also really good here. She has a lot of fun with the role, especially as she plays the one parent who tries to relate to her child the most (for example, trying to know all the slang).

The character I was most worried about was Hunter, played by Barinholtz. Portrayed as the less responsible parent, it would have been really easy to go too far with the character and make him do a bunch of over-the-top things, but fortunately, that’s not the case. While being the most comic relief-like, Hunter actually was the voice of reason in more than a few scenes, and he made for a great balance in contrast to Cena’s character.

All three of the performers seemed to have a good chemistry, too, making for a fun trio to follow. The same could be said about the younger actresses, too. There was a real authenticity that Newton, Viswanathan and Adlon gave to their characters and they were just as important in making the film funny as their older counterparts.

Overall, “Blockers” is a really good, and at points surprisingly honest and relatable comedy. Again, not every joke works, but this one had me constantly laughing. 4.5 out of 5.

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