Director Kay Cannon
Cast Leslie Mann, John Cena, Ike Barinholtz, Kathryn Newton
Release Date April 6th, 2018
The directorial debut for up-and-coming screenwriter Kay Cannon, who wrote all three Pitch Perfect Films, Blockers is a seemingly raunchy comedy about a trio of parents who try to stop their daughters from having sex on Prom night. Boasting a very talented cast along with the excitement around Cannon's debut, the hype train for this film left the station months ago. The cast includes Leslie Mann, John Cena, Ike Barinholtz, Kathryn Newton, Gideon Adlon, Geraldine Viswanathan, and Sarayu Blue.
Packed with hilarious one-liners and ultimately a meaningful conclusion, Blockers is an impressive debut for Pitch Perfect writer Kay Cannon. First and foremost, I respect Cannon’s willingness to push the envelope with the hard to tackle market of R-rated comedies- especially as a debut for a female director. Cannon has made waves with the Pitch Perfect films and her ability is undeniable, but it is nice to have the opportunity for her to really spread her wings and venture out. Blockers will have you laughing right out of the gate and the film feels very much like a Kay Cannon movie, a smooth combination of raunchy humor and creative gags. I was never bored and I enjoyed the fact that you can just sit back and enjoy this movie without feeling like you need an elaborate storyline or meaningful conclusion, even though the film's final act certainly takes a few tugs at the heart strings. A few critics have referred to Blockers as the female American Pie, and although the similarities are obvious, it remains to be seen whether or not it can even come close to the same level of cult status the 1999 comedy was able to achieve. Much like American Pie, Blockers is a coming-of-age story for the parents just as much as it is for the teenagers, and I think they did a fantastic job with that aspect of the film.
Now Blockers isn’t perfect, and it does feel forced at times, especially when it comes to female stereotypes- but I suppose that is par for the course this day and age. As a viewer with what I would consider to be an extremely neutral viewpoint as far as gender roles are concerned, it felt like a bit much at times. I agree females absolutely should choose when, where, and how they "become a woman,” but that’s not exactly groundbreaking news, is it? I mean if anything the females hold the majority of the power when it comes to that, or at least that’s how it was when I was in high school- pretty much just guys following girls around the halls with their tongue's dragging on the floor. Oh and the idea of the girls taking advantage of the guys, yeah that is definitely spot on. What surprised me was the fact that even though Cannon was in the director’s chair, the accomplished writer did not pen the script. Instead, brothers Brian and Jim Kehoe wrote the script. Severely lacking in experience when it comes to scripts for movies from big studios (or movies in general for that matter), I can't help but wonder how far the duo strayed from the vision Cannon had for the film.
The cast for Blockers is pretty great, that I really can’t argue with. Lead by John Cena, Leslie Mann, and Ike Barinholtz, talent is certainly aplenty. Getting his start as a professional wrestler, Cena may catch his fair share of flack in the film industry- but at the end of the day, who is really willing to talk trash to the face of the 6’ 250lb behemoth? Nobody, that’s who. But seriously, Cena has proven himself as a genuinely funny and charismatic actor, after his roles in Trainwreck and Sisters. I felt like he was used properly in Blockers and I look forward to his future roles. Now Leslie Mann is simply amazing, and it is getting to the point that if she is in a prominent role, you know the movie is going to be good. The foul-mouthed strawberry blonde actress is married to comedic mastermind Judd Apatow, who is a jack-of-all-trades himself. One of my favorite Leslie Mann roles would have to be Knocked Up where she starred alongside Paul Rudd and her two daughters in real-life played by their kids. Mann perfectly balances the chemistry, and testosterone, of the cast, and delivers a fantastic performance. I've grown to love actor Ike Barinholtz, who has had to scratch and crawl his way through Hollywood. Most recognize him from his role in long running sitcom The Mindy Project, which he was involved with for 5 years, starting in 2012. His strength as an actor is comedy no question, and I really liked the layers of his character in Blockers. While I really enjoyed the performance from comedian turned actor Hannibal Burress, I do wish he had a bit more screen time. The three daughters were played by Kathryn Newton, Gideon Adlon, and Geraldine Viswanathan, and I thought all of their performances were solid.
Blockers is a genuinely enjoyable comedy that effectively teeters between raunchy and heartfelt, but most importantly it has an identity and sticks with it. I'll admit the fact that I did feel preached to at times, specifically in reference to the fact that the female sex deserves to have the same sort of coming-of-age experiences that guys get to rave about in high school, but Kay Cannon wanted to get a few points across and I understand that. Overall this is a fantastic directorial debut for Cannon, and she proved her worth as a dual threat. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next. Be sure to stick around for the end credits scene as well, it is well worth it especially if you're a John Cena fan.