Dec 26, 2018
Welcome back to another review for a film streaming on HBO. It’s one of many solid comedies that have come out this year. For a few others, check out “The After Party” (Episode #237), “The Happytime Murders” (Episode #239), and “Game Night” (Episode #355). And if you have any suggestions for comedies from this year, let us know at onemoviepunch.com or reach out over social media.
Today’s movie is “Blockers” (2018), the hit comedy directed by Kay Cannon and written for the screen by Brian Kehoe and Jim Kehoe. The film follows three parents: Lisa (Leslie Mann), a single mother; Mitchell (John Cena), a sports-oriented jock father; and Hunter (Ike Barinholtz), a divorced father. On Prom Night, their three daughters make a pact to lose their virginity, driving all three of their parents into a desperate quest to stop it from happening.
It has been said that the best kind of genre films are able to weave other genres into their stories, some pairings of which have become their own genres, like romantic comedies or dramedies or romantic dramedies. Science fiction, horror, action, adventure... all are arguably at their best when they transcend the narrow confines of their own genre. However, when it comes to comedy, the best films often stay well within the comedy genre, which may inhibit a comedy film’s ability to find critical acclaim at the award shows. The last few years have seen an explosion in comedy films, most of which have steadily increased the raunchiness of their themes, as once taboo themes about sex and violence have been liberated, and new taboos have rightfully been placed on a great deal of the racist, homophobic, and misogynistic humor of yesteryear. It’s an exciting time for comedies, especially when a film like today’s rises to the top, despite every sign to the contrary.
“Blockers” is a film for two audiences. Obviously, the film will appeal to suburban teenagers, often now self-educated on sex and drugs, and increasingly ignoring MPAA-ratings. I actually think my daughter will love the film, even if she would be as uncomfortable watching the film with me as I would be with her. The other audience, though, is comprised of middle-aged parents coming to grips with their own children’s sexuality. I’ve been wrestling a lot with the same issue, and when I discuss the conflict with other people, I get a wide variety of views and opinions, some very self-assured, some with their own doubts and concerns. Comedy, as a genre, is made for this kind of quandary, because we can play out the scenario to its end, with the story smoothed along by well-time jokes. And much like Greek comedies, we can create characters who represent the various cultural and social viewpoints around the main theme. The goal, of course, is to understand the issue a little better, and “Blockers” delivers.
Brian and Jim Kehoe develop an outrageous premise into a surprisingly heartwarming comedy, using well-crafted characters and scenarios that only lets up towards the very end. Kay Cannon takes an excellent cast through the breakneck tale, directing the characters well, and knowing how to drag every second of awkward discomfort out of some very graphic, but also very funny scenes. Practical effects are all great, especially the anatomical effects, and I loved the costumes for nearly everyone involved. But the film really brings it home at the end, as each parent finally catches up to their daughter, and both of them learn a lot about themselves and each other in the process. All three parents actually ended up voicing a lot of my own unspoken concerns, and with surprising clarity. I wouldn’t have guessed the film would have that effect on me, and I suspect it will similarly affect others middle-age parents of teenagers.
“Blockers” (2018) is a hilarious and raunchy comedy about parents struggling to accept their children’s sexuality, as told by a solid cast and at a breakneck pace. While it is a strong comedy, it is also surprisingly heartwarming, a testament to great writing, effective direction, and a wonderful cast. Comedy fans who don’t mind very explicit sexual references should definitely see this film, especially if you’re a middle-aged parent.
Rotten Tomatoes: 83% (CERTIFIED FRESH)
One Movie Punch: 8.2/10
“Blockers” (2018) is rated R and is currently streaming on HBO.